Document Type


Date of Original Version



Health Studies


Objective To explore how Brazilian-born immigrant mothers living in the USA obtain information about physical activity (PA) and screen time (ST) behaviours for their preschool-aged children.

Research design Focus group discussions (FGDs) were used to gain an in-depth understanding of research topics. All FGDs were audio-recorded and professionally transcribed verbatim. The Portuguese transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis, an iterative process of coding the data in phases to create meaningful patterns.

Participants Thirty-seven Brazilian-born immigrant mothers of preschool-age children.

Setting This study was conducted in two cities in Massachusetts (MA). Participants were recruited from two predominantly Brazilian churches, local Brazilian businesses and community-based social and health services organisations in the Greater Boston area in MA.

Results Analyses revealed that the mothers participating in this study did not initially actively seek out information about PA and ST for their preschool-age children, but that they received unsolicited information about these behaviours from multiple sources including their child’s paediatrician, Women, Infant and Children (WIC) programme staff, members of their social network of Brazilian friends and the Brazilian media. Mothers reported that this unsolicited information increased their knowledge about the importance of making sure their children were physically active and not participating in excessive ST. This increased awareness led mothers to actively seek information about PA and ST behaviours via the internet and through interpersonal communication with fellow Brazilian friends and family.

Conclusions Given the value Brazilian immigrant mothers placed on the advice of their paediatricians and WIC staff, interventions should consider involving these healthcare professionals, possibly through including endorsement (eg, prescription for PA and maximum ST). More research is needed to ensure Brazilian immigrant mothers’ health and media literacy including their ability to navigate the online environment and to discern the accuracy and quality of information from various web sites

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Mary Greaney has a dual appointment with the Department of Health Studies and the Department of Kinesiology.