Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

5-14-2018

Department

Kinesiology

Abstract

Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority population group in the United States, and children in low-income Latino families are at elevated risk of becoming overweight or having obesity. A child’s home is an important social environment in which he/she develops and maintains dietary and physical activity (PA) habits that ultimately impact weight status. Previous research suggests the parents are central to creating a home environment that facilitates or hinders the development of children’s early healthy eating and PA habits. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore low-income Latino parents’ beliefs, parenting styles, and parenting practices related to their children’s eating and PA behaviors while at home. Methods: Qualitative study using focus group discussions (FGDs) with 33 low-income Latino parents of preschool children 2 to 5 years of age. FGDs were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Data analyses revealed that most parents recognize the importance of healthy eating and PA for their children and themselves. However, daily life demands including conflicting schedules, long working hours, financial constraints, and neighborhood safety concerns, etc., impact parents’ ability to create a home environment supportive of these behaviors. Conclusions: This study provides information about how the home environment may influence low-income Latino preschool children’s eating and PA habits, which may be useful for health promotion and disease prevention efforts targeting low-income Latino families with young children, and for developing home-based and parenting interventions to prevent and control childhood obesity among this population group. Pediatric healthcare providers can play an important role in facilitating communication, providing education, and offering guidance to low-income Latino parents that support their children’s development of early healthy eating and PA habits, while taking into account daily life barriers faced by families. Moreover, pediatric healthcare providers also can play an important role in the integration and coordination of home-visitations to complement office-based visits and provide a continuum of care to low-income Latino families.

Comment

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

Creative Commons License

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

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