Attitudes, practices, and concerns about child feeding and child weight status among socioeconomically diverse white, Hispanic, and African-American mothers

Bettylou Sherry, Judith McDivitt, Leann Lipps Birch, Frances Hanks Cook, Susan Sanders, Jennifer Lynn Prish, Lori Ann Francis, Kelley Sean Scanlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

188 Scopus citations

Abstract

Parents play an important role in the development of their children's eating behaviors. We conducted 12 focus groups (three white, three African-American, and three Hispanic-American low-income groups; three white middle-income groups) of mothers (N=101) of 2- to less than 5-year-old children to explore maternal attitudes, concerns, and practices related to child feeding and perceptions about child weight. We identified the following major themes from responses to our standardized focus group guide: 12 groups wanted to provide good nutrition, and most wanted children to avoid eating too many sweets and processed foods; 12 groups prepared foods their children liked, accommodated specific requests, and used bribes and rewards to accomplish their feeding goals (sweets were commonly used as bribes, rewards, or pacifiers); and 11 of 12 groups believed their children were prevaricating when they said they were full and mothers encouraged them to eat more. The common use of strategies that may not promote healthful weight suggests work is needed to develop culturally and socioeconomically effective overweight prevention programs. Further study is needed to verify racial/ethnic or income differences in attitudes, practices, and concerns about child feeding and perceptions of child weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Volume104
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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