Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

5-7-2015

DOI

10.1089/chi.2014.0118

Abstract

Background: Parental feeding practices shape children's dietary preferences and behaviors, which can influence a child's weight status. Limited research exists on the precursors and contextual influences of feeding, particularly among Hispanic parents. Therefore, this study explored two areas potentially important for obesity prevention in young children: (1) precursors and contextual influences on parental feeding and (2) parental perceptions and knowledge of the child care food environment.

Methods: Four focus groups (n=36) were held with Hispanic parents, predominantly mothers, of preschool children at two child care centers. Parents were asked about influences on what and how they feed their children, awareness of the child care center feeding environment, and current involvement in the child care center. Themes were coded using NVivo10 software (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia).

Results: Participants' childhood experiences influenced how they feed their children. Parents stated that both husbands and grandparents often indulged their children with unhealthy foods and thought this interfered with their efforts to maintain a healthy home environment. Participants reported that what their children ate while in child care sometimes influenced the home feeding environment.

Conclusions: Cultural and environmental factors influence parental feeding and involvement in the child care setting. Consistent with socioecological system theory, exploring interactions between the environment and culture using a family focus framework, such as the Family Ecological Model, could provide a better understanding of these influences among Hispanic parents. Future obesity prevention interventions with Hispanic families should be culturally relevant and target the different environments where children spend their time.

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