Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

David J. Roseborough


Social Work


The purpose of this study was to examine the challenges and successes community-based Minnesotan Programs have had in promoting low-income adults to eat healthier to avoid obesity and complications from obesity. This research highlighted factors associated with community based programs from the perspective of the professionals working with these programs. This study outlined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of healthy diet and weight along with the current measurement of Body Mass Index (BMI). The conceptual framework utilizing the concepts developed by National Geographic researcher Dan Buettner through his book The Blue Zones showing it is possible to live a long healthy lifestyle. Using a qualitative research design, the researcher interviewed twelve professionals from various backgrounds invested in working with community-based programs that work with people living with limited incomes. Semi-structured interviews with open ended questions were chosen to better understand the successes and challenges the professionals face in their work and suggestions for future study. Six major themes emerged from the interviews:

 Generational Lack of Knowledge of How to Cook

 Competing Demands

 Sedentary & Convenience Lifestyles

 Lack of Available and Safe Streets and Neighborhoods to Move Freely

 Successes

 Challenges

This research suggests the need for individualized one-on-one education when working with populations of low income although current research states it does not work. This research suggests that offering people healthy options and changing their environments may work but telling people what to do does not. This study offers implications for social workers working with people with low income, as well as suggestions for future research.

Included in

Social Work Commons