Ana C. Lindsay, MPH, DrPH, Public Health Nutrition, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Room 310A, Boston, MA 02115, 617-432-0983, email@example.com, Marcia T. Machado, MPH, PhD, Department of Community Health, Federal University of Ceara, Avenida Antonio Justa , 3161, Fortaleza, Ceara, 73695, Brazil, Katarina M. Sussner, AM, MPH, Anthropology, Harvard University, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02138, Cary Hardwick, MSN, MA, MSc, Society Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, and Karen E. Peterson, RD, DSc, Nutrition and Society Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
Child-feeding practices may play a causal role in the development of individual difference in the controls of food intake, and the etiology of problems of energy balance, especially childhood obesity. Limited information exists describing mothers' child feeding practices and how these practices may vary within the context of the nutrition transition now facing populations in developing countries. The goals of this qualitative study were to fill this gap by: 1) describing Brazilian mothers' child feeding practices and perceptions of infant weight status, and how these influence children's dietary intake and nutritional status; and 2) exploring the role of socio-demographic, socio-cultural and feeding environment influences on these relationships. We conducted four focus groups with mothers enrolled in the Family Health program in the municipality of Caucaia, Ceara. Four main themes emerged from the discussions including: 1) breastfeeding practices; 2) weaning practices and introduction of complementary foods; 3) mothers' perceptions and beliefs related to child weight status and health; 4) influence of socio-economic factors on child weight status. Cultural beliefs emerged as an important factor influencing mothers' perceptions about child weight status and child feeding practices. Food practices in this population appeared heavily tied to socio-economic status. Mothers spoke of economic factors as barriers to providing healthy diets for children, with hunger emerging as a significant problem. Findings provide information on how low-income mothers' child feeding practices are developed within their socio-cultural environment and help identify potential barriers that mothers in this population face in making healthy feeding choices for their children.
Learning Objectives: Identify barriers that low-income mothers in developing countries may face to provide healthy diets for their children within the context of the nutrition and economic transition faced by these countries. Understand how mothers’ feeding practices and perceptions of child weight status may influence their child’s risk of under- and over-nutrition. Understand qualitative methods that can be used to
Keywords: Child Health, Food and Nutrition
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Any relevant financial relationships? No
The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA