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In the Black community food is everywhere—at family celebrations, church events and even work events—and can be hard to stay away from. In a culture where, as children, one is often taught that they must, “clean your plate,” whether full or not, it can also be hard to establish healthy eating habits as an adult.

A University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work doctoral candidate is working to change that mindset and equip African American women with the tools needed to live a healthier lifestyle. Through her Appetite Awareness Training pilot program, which is an eight-week program, funded through Magee Women’s Research, that focuses on obesity and eating disorders among African American women, Rachel Woodson Goode is teaching women that by listening to their bodies they can overcome their challenges with food.

Goode, who had her own history of battling weight, said she designed the research study after putting together her own weight loss plan that included a recipe of spiritual faith and recognizing the body signals for hunger and fullness.

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