194335 Parental beliefs and barriers related to increasing the availability of fruits and vegetables in homes of Mexican-American families

Monday, November 9, 2009: 1:15 PM

Alexandra Evans, PhD , Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, Austin, TX
Jayna Dave, PhD , Dept of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Jennifer J. Loyo, MEd , Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Kathryn Scoblick, MA , HealthyFUNday, INC, Austin, TX
Katherine Sterba, PhD , Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Introduction: The purpose of this study was to identify parental beliefs, behaviors, and barriers related to increasing the availability of fruits and vegetables (F&V) in the homes of low-income Mexican-American families living in the United States (US) using quantitative and qualitative methods.

Methods: Focus groups were conducted with 34 participants who also completed a self-administered survey assessing demographic information, acculturation level (language spoken at home and time lived in US), food insecurity, and availability and accessibility of F&V at home.

Results: The majority of participants were females (n=33), spoke Spanish at home (n=32) and had lived in the US between 6-10 years (n=18). About 50% reported being food insecure (n=21). Mean score on F&V availability and accessibility index was 11.20 ± 1.47 (Range: 9-18). Parents' knowledge about the importance of eating F&V and their motivation to provide their children with more F&V was high. They cited “Mexican tradition” and convenience as important influences on the types of foods usually available in their homes. The most important barriers to having more F&V available at home included lack of cooking skills, their family members' preference of unhealthful foods, exposure to TV advertisements, and the cost of fresh F&V.

Discussion: Results of this pilot study have important implications for intervention development for this specific population group. One culturally-acceptable strategy to increase F&V availability is conducting cooking classes to teach parents skills to incorporate low-cost F&V in meals, which would help increase the self-efficacy and skills to overcome the perceived barriers among Mexican-American families.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe 2 influences on the types of foods usually available in the homes of Mexican American families. 2. Participants will be able to list 3 barriers to increase fruit and vegetables in the homes of Mexican American families.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Hispanic

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved with research with Mexican American populations for the past 5 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.