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Research Project: Preventing the Development of Childhood Obesity

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Photographs assist in identifying socio-ecological factors influencing dietary behaviors of families living in underserved communities

item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item CALLENDER, CHISHINGA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item VELAZQUEZ, DENISSE - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item DAVE, JAYNA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item OLVERA, NORMA - University Of Houston
item CHEN, TZU - University Of Houston
item GOLDSWORTHY, NATALIE - Common Threads

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/7/2020
Publication Date: 6/18/2020
Citation: Thompson, D.J., Callender, C., Velazquez, D., Dave, J., Olvera, N., Chen, T.A., Goldsworthy, N. 2020. Photographs assist in identifying socio-ecological factors influencing dietary behaviors of families living in underserved communities [abstract]. International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) Annual Conference (Virtual). June 15-25, 2020. Oral Presentation.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Although diet is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, diet quality of US children is suboptimal. Disparities exist; children from low-income, minority families are at greatest risk. Because parents influence home food choices, we investigated parent perspectives of factors that influence dietary choices. Family-produced photographs added insight and context. Using a convergent mixed methods design (surveys, interviews, photographs), a purposive sample of parents/caregivers of 8-13 year-olds living in underserved communities in a large US city were recruited (n=18). Surveys were completed online; descriptive statistics were calculated. Mobile phones were used to take photographs of factors that make it easy/hard to eat healthfully; photographs were discussed during the interview. Interviews were scripted, digitally recorded, and professionally transcribed. Two coders used hybrid thematic analysis to separately code transcripts. Coders met routinely to compare decisions and resolve differences. A codebook was maintained. All parents/caregivers were female and mostly 40-49 years old (61%), minority (56% Black/African-American, 44% Hispanic), and married/living with significant other (61%). Annual household income was $21,000-$44,000 (44%). Emerging interview findings reveal that mothers have a strong influence on the home food environment, although child and spouse preferences exert an effect. Opinions vary as to the influence of culture. Availability, cost, convenience, and time are cited as positive and negative influences. Mothers use a variety of strategies to help their families eat healthy foods: involving children in food shopping/preparation, buying food on sale, employing food substitutions, and making food-related activities fun. Technology is used to locate recipes, find substitutions, or view demonstrations. Cooking is seen as an important life-skill, and mothers express interest in attending a cooking class with their children, although opinions vary as who the class leader should be (e.g., chef, nutritionist, knowledgeable/experienced community member). Although mothers want to help their families consume a healthy diet, photographs, supported by interviews, reveal beliefs, practices, and misconceptions that may limit effectiveness. Understanding family perspectives can provide insight into ways to enhance diet quality of children and families living in underserved communities.