Principal Investigator:  Cleopatra Howard Caldwell, PhD 
Program Manager:  Cassandra L. Brooks, MA, MSA 
Award Period:  December 1, 2012 – November 30, 2013 
Funding Source: Ruth Mott Foundation, Flint, MI

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 The Foundation’s mission is to advocate, stimulate, and support community vitality.  It envisions “communities of hope and pride, whose neighborhood environments and urban core are safe, attractive, and healthy, enriched by cultural diversity and an engaged citizenry.”  Projects focused on health promotion which create environments and foster behaviors essential to good health are encouraged. 

Program Description

The Fathers and Sons Physical Activity and Nutrition Program was funded by the Ruth Mott Foundation to test the effectiveness of a program curriculum designed to encourage African American fathers and sons to become more physically active and improve their nutritional habits.

We conducted two program groups with 10 families in each group for a total of 20 father-son families. Families from Genesee County participated in a 10-session program over a six-week period that involved active learning and hands-on experiences shared as a family through group experiences and service learning. The results from this pilot study were compared to results from the YVPC Fathers and Sons Intervention Program which was conducted in Flint with African American fathers and sons who complete a culturally-based, parenting intervention designed to influence aggressive attitudes and behaviors. 

The Fathers and Sons Physical Activity and Nutrition Program offered a unique opportunity to transform the lives of African American men and boys in the Flint community by exposing them to ways to engage in a more active lifestyle and better nutrition while strengthening their relationship with each other. Ultimately our goal was to understand if such family bonding will inspire motivation for protecting their physical health from a family perspective. We believe the link between family bonding and healthy lifestyles can serve as the foundation for a Community Action Plan that uses a relational framework to address improvements in physical activity and nutrition for the broader Flint community, with an emphasis on men and boys within families, and families within communities.  We also provided sustainable programming that will benefit the health and well-being of the residents of Flint, especially African American families with children.

The Fathers and Sons Physical Activity and Nutrition Program complements our original Fathers and Sons Program, which was developed in Flint using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) process that involved several community-based organizations, the Genesee County Health Department, and the Prevention Research Center of Michigan at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. This program was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  



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Center for Research, Ethnicity, Culture, and Health
School of Public Health - University of Michigan
1415 Washington Heights, 2858 SPH I
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029
Phone: 734-647-6665 Fax: 734-763-9265

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