Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Social Work

Additional Affiliations

Brown School

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



The nutrition transition is underway in Haiti, giving rise to the dual burden of malnutrition. Physical activity (PA) plays an important role in mitigating the negative health consequences of nutrition transition and the dual burden, but heretofore this data has been unavailable for Haiti. This dissertation undertook an exploratory needs assessment providing baseline PA data for Haitian adolescents. It evaluated two different PA data collection methodologies: a cross-sectional survey adapted from the IPAQ long-form and objectively measured PA via Actigraph GT1M accelerometers. Next, it identified initial covariates of self-reported and objectively-assessed PA behaviors; data was operationalized as meeting the World Health Organization’s recommendation (WHO REC) of ≥60 minutes of moderate or vigorous PA per day for children and adolescents. Finally, the study qualitatively examined the PA values, beliefs, and behaviors of adolescents via focus groups and structured observations. Survey and accelerometry data identified adolescent age, gender, dietary diversity and caregiver occupation as consistently significant covariates of meeting the WHO REC. Focus group and structured observation data further emphasized gender differences in PA. Qualitative methods also revealed overweight to be considered desirable and beneficial, separating it from obesity, which was considered undesirable and associated with poor health. This study is the first of its kind, representing an important step in characterizing the link between the emergence of the dual burden of malnutrition and its risk factors in Haiti, as well as providing rationale for early adoption of policies and programs regarding PA, nutrition, and other types of assistance programming in Haiti.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Lora L. Iannotti

Committee Members

Aaron Addison, Ross C. Brownson, Carolyn Lesorogol, Deborah Salvo-Dominguez,


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