Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

David Himmelgreen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Heide Castaneda, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rita DeBate, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lauri Wright, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rebecca Zarger, Ph.D.


Developmental Niche Theoretical Framework, Ecological Model of Food and Nutrition, Focus Groups, Free-listing, Nutritional Anthropology, Vignettes


This exploratory research study examines changes in food and foodways (food habits) among Arab migrant families in a small community in Tampa, Florida. It also explores how those families’ children may play a role in the process of change. Within this community, I conducted my research study at a private school, where I recruited families with children between the ages of eight and seventeen. In applying the ecological model of food and nutrition and the developmental niche theoretical framework, this research draws on qualitative methods, including structured interviews with parents; focus group discussion with parents; a food survey; and children’s focus groups that included engaging activities such as vignettes (role playing), free-listing and sorting, and one-day food menus. I used MAXQDA 18 software for qualitative data analysis, and the results show that the main factors aiding in post-migration food and foodways changes are time constraints (lifestyle), ingredients, and availability and accessibility of permissible food (halal). Parent did not mention their children as a main factor; however, they perceive influence of their children. Feeding practices such as rewarding, restriction, forcing, and family meals were emerging themes, and children express their agency around those practices. Children developed their own agency regarding food because of their social and physical environments. Older children perceived their influence on their families’ food and foodways by introducing food items to their own families.