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Research Project: Preventing the Development of Childhood Obesity

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: The role of technology in meal preparation for Black and Hispanic families: Implications for nutrition and cooking education

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: Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/11/2021
Publication Date: 4/12/2021
Citation: Callender, C.S., Velazquez, D., Dave, J., Olvera, N., Chen, T.A., Alford, S., Thompson, D.J. 2021. The role of technology in meal preparation for Black and Hispanic families: Implications for nutrition and cooking education [abstract]. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 55(Suppl 1):S477.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The high prevalence of child obesity in the United States is a significant public health issue, with the highest prevalence among Black and Hispanic children and youth living in low-income households. Diet-related disparities also exist, and racial and ethnic minority families with limited resources face greater risks. These disparities increase obesity and disease risk. Few nutrition and cooking education programs are tailored to minority and low-income families. Programs that incorporate technology have the potential to encourage obesity preventive behaviors using familiar, convenient, and available resources. This research explored the role technology plays in helping families with meal preparation. Parents/caregivers and 8–13 year olds (n=18) living in under-resourced Houston-area communities were recruited for a mixed-methods study (online surveys, telephone interviews). During the interviews, participants answered questions about the role technology plays when cooking with their family; findings are reported below. Interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed, and double-coded using hybrid thematic analysis. Descriptive statistics were computed for demographic characteristics. All parents were female, 40–49 years old (61%), and minority (56% Black, 44% Hispanic) with an annual household income of $21,000-$41,000 (44%). Children were majority female (56%) and Black (56%). Interviews revealed that mothers and children used online resources (e.g., search engines, web-sites, online video sharing platforms, social media) to locate recipes, ingredients, and view cooking demonstrations. Most mothers expressed a positive view to-wards their child’s technology usage for meal preparation and viewed technology as having an educational and motivational role for the child's learning to cook. A few mothers shared a negative view towards technology usage; e.g., one mother expressed that technology could be a distraction to her child while cooking. A few mothers and children interpreted technology to mean the usage of kitchen equipment and appliances, with one mother noting the convenience of using certain equipment (i.e., air fryer, crockpot). This research provides evidence that parents and children are using technology in meal preparation, which can inform the development of nutrition and cooking education programming for families living in underserved communities.