A qualitative study of family healthy lifestyle behaviors of Mexican-American and Mexican immigrant fathers and mothers

Barbara J. Turner, Neelima Navuluri, Paula Winkler, Shruthi Vale, Erin Finley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study qualitatively examines contrasting parental decision-making styles about family food choices and physical activities as well as willingness to change behaviors among Mexican-American and Mexican immigrant mothers and fathers of school-aged children. Twelve sex-specific focus groups were held in English or Spanish in 2012. Qualitative analysis informed by grounded theory examined parenting styles (ie, authoritative, authoritarian, or permissive), barriers to healthy lifestyle, and parents' stage of change about healthy lifestyles. One third of the 33 participating couples were born in Mexico. The majority of mothers and fathers described being permissive and allowing unhealthy food choices, and a minority of mothers reported more authoritarian approaches to promoting a healthier diet for their children. Mothers were more permissive than fathers about family physical activities and less engaged in these activities. Most mothers and fathers described only contemplating a healthier diet and more physical activity, while wanting their children to have a healthier lifestyle. These data suggest that clinicians need to assess and address differential parental roles when promoting a healthy lifestyle for children. Clinicians should also adopt culturally competent approaches to overcome barriers to parental engagement in diverse aspects of a healthy family lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-569
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Volume114
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Children
  • Mexican-American
  • Obesity
  • Parenting styles
  • Stages of change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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