Understanding Latino Families' Food and Health Behaviors: A Mixed Methods Study



Tadio, Kathryn

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Background: Low-income Latino children are disproportionately affected by obesity in the United States. Parents play a significant role in the treatment of childhood obesity. Objective: To evaluate the attitudes, norms, self-efficacy and behavioral intentions for healthy eating and management of childhood obesity in Latino families based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. Design: This research is a subset of a 10-week weight management intervention for Latino families with children above the 85th percentile for BMI. This mixed methods study had quantitative data that included Block Food Frequency Questionnaires (Block FFQ) and 24-hour recalls from the pilot cohort study, uncontrolled clinical trial (n=16 children) recruited from schools/clinics in Manassas, Virginia. Qualitative data included exit surveys and nine interviews with families. Methods: Pre and post-intervention Block FFQ and 24-hour recall variable changes were assessed. Interviews were analyzed using beliefs, values, attitudes, norms and behavioral intentions qualitative coding. Results: From the pre/post intervention surveys decreases in whole milk, fruit juice, and trans-fat consumption were found while vegetables soup increased. Interview data identified significant barriers to Latino family health success around gender, family and self-efficacy. Conclusions: Qualitative and quantitative data from Block FFQ, 24-hour recalls, exit surveys, and interviews found that the intervention did not significantly affect measured food behaviors, but participants applied health knowledge from sessions. Consumption pattern changes were nutritionally favorable and reflected lesson plans. Participants conveyed changes in intentions, values, attitudes and beliefs toward healthy lifestyles, demonstrating possible future behavior change. Interviews helped to understand common factors for Latino health success.



Latino, Childhood obesity, Health behaviors, Mixed methods study, Families, The Theory of Planned Behavior