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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372535

Research Project: Preventing the Development of Childhood Obesity

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Perceived barriers and strategies for healthy eating among families in underserved communities

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 ALFORD, SHANA - Common Threads
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2020
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Diet-related disparities exist, and minority families with limited resources face the greatest risk. These disparities increase obesity and disease risk. This study examined parent and child perspectives on healthy eating barriers and strategies for healthy eating. This mixed-methods study (online survey, interviews, photographs) was framed within the Social Ecological Model. Parents/caregivers and 8-13 year olds (n=18 dyads) living in underserved Houston-area communities were recruited. During the interviews, participants answered questions about factors influencing eating behaviors; photographs taken by families guided the discussion. Interviews were digitally recorded, professionally transcribed, and double-coded using hybrid thematic analysis. Descriptive statistics were computed for demographic characteristics. Parents were female (100%), 40-49 years old (61%), and minority (56% Black, 44% Hispanic), and children were majority female (56%) and Black (56%). The annual household income was $21,000-$41,000 (44%). Interview findings revealed that limited access to and availability of healthy foods, convenience, cost, distance, and temptation were environmental barriers, while time, limited knowledge, and skills were personal barriers, and children's and spouse's food preferences were familial barriers to healthy eating choices for families. Mothers and children both identified food preparation techniques, food substitutions, fun food-related activities, and meal patterns/balanced meals as strategies for eating healthy. Strategies reported by mothers only included cost-saving methods (e.g., coupons, discounted prices) and creative techniques for adding healthy ingredients (e.g., disguising vegetables in meals). Understanding families' perspectives about food barriers and strategies for healthy eating can provide direction on needed nutrition-related resources for families living in underserved communities.