Children in French-Speaking African Immigrant Families


Research on African Americans in the United States assumes a na­tive population and greater cultural homogeneity than exists. Afri­can immigrants, especially those with limited English proficiency, seem to be an invisible minority in research initiatives. We chose to study African immigrants because it is necessary to understand the cultural resources and practices of this population if public policies and programs are to address effectively the problem of health dis­parities. The present paper reports on a pilot study that focuses on the health and nutrition of children in French-speaking African im­migrant families. We explored children's health implications of nutrition, parents' concern with health issues, social networks, and pat­terns of health service utilization. Ethnographic interviews were con­ducted with 14 families in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia. Prelimi­nary findings suggest little concern for the relationship between food consumption patterns and children's health or the family's health overall. With few exceptions, culture, rather than nutrition or health considerations, dictates what the family eats and how it is prepared. Insurance coverage and eligibility for health benefits are the princi­pal barriers to health care. In this report, we also discuss expansion and replication of such studies for other cultural groups. This kind of knowledge is invaluable for developing culturally competent meth­odologies and for implementing and evaluating culturally sensitive community intervention programs.


In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for non-commercial uses. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).