221521 Nutrition and physical activity practices of low-income urban families with young children: Negotiating a balance in resource poor environments

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Joyce Duckles, PhD Candidate, Human Development , Warner School of Education and Human Development, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Martina Ocrah, MPH , Community and Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
I. Diana Fernandez, MD, MPH, PhD , Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester School of Meidicine, Rochester, NY
Nancy Chin, PhD , Community and Preventive Medicine/Social and Behavioral Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
School-based projects targeting nutritional and physical activity (PA) behaviors and environments have demonstrated modest results. Targeting a single, bounded context and seeking linear, simple relations are being recognized as inadequate for explaining and developing interventions for the complex phenomena of children's health. The goal of this research is to gain a broad understanding of how low-income urban families with elementary-age children negotiate and organize their food and PA practices across the levels of home, school, and community. Working with 15 families we collected data through in-depth interviews, informal conversations and home observations, neighborhood walking tours, and photovoice interviews. Data were analyzed through an iterative grounded theory process. Several themes emerged, including: · Families have extensive knowledge about issues related to PA and nutrition and utilize an array of strategies to keep their families healthy; · Translating knowledge into practice is severely constrained by resource poor environments (e.g. inadequate affordable housing, limited access to transportation, few or no neighborhood grocery stores, unsafe streets); · Caregivers' chronic stress prevents them from accessing scarce neighborhood assets; · Schools serve as both sources of support and frustration; · Families often “live on the edge” as they work toward sustaining the health of their families.

Our findings indicate that education programs alone are insufficient. This research moves beyond individual change models and deficit views of families to provide insights into how to build on familial, organizational, and community supports and facilitators to family nutrition and physical activity practices.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the social, cultural, and environmental factors that shape and inform the nutritional and physcial activity practices of urban low-income families as they negotiate resource poor environments. 2. Discuss the challenges as well as the strengths of families and communities that both constrain and facilitate families' goals of keeping their families healthy. 3. Identify potential interventions that simultaneously target the social-environmental contexts and the roles of the individual agents, highlighting the complex and bidirectional nature of change.

Keywords: Nutrition, Family Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a research team member, I obtained RSRB approval, conducted data collection and analysis, helped write the abstract, and am currently working along with my team on an article for publication based on our research.
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.