233251 African American mothers' knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of childhood obesity and prevention

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 9:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Tya M. Arthur, PhD, MPH, CPH , Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Sasha Fleary, MS , Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
E. Lisako J. McKyer, PhD, MPH , Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Akilah R. Carter, PhD , Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Background: Obesity among minority populations, including African American (AA) children, is a challenge with immediate and long-term consequences. Mothers, in their caregiver role, are likely to have the greatest influence on preventing childhood obesity. The purpose of this study was to explore the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of childhood obesity among AA mothers. Methods: Qualitative data were collected through three focus groups with AA mothers (n=20) residing in Bryan/College Station, Texas. Focus groups, moderated by researchers, were one hour long. An interview guide with ten open-ended questions was used to elicit information. Groups were audio-taped, transcribed, and data was analyzed using deductive-inductive content analysis to identify categories and themes. Results: Mothers utilized tangible attributes (e.g., proper height and weight) and intangible attributes (e.g., positive self-image) as markers of a healthy child. Mothers identified several preventive variables for childhood obesity including role modeling, regular physical activity, sport participation, eating a variety of foods, and food substitutions. Barriers to engaging in obesity preventive behaviors included lack of time, limited finances, and poor knowledge regarding time-efficient meal preparation. Culture was described as a moderating factor in the understanding and rationale of obesity, food choice and preparation, and access to and participation in physical activities. Conclusion: The study suggests AA mothers understand the meaning of a healthy child and are aware of the impact of their role in their child's health, including obesity prevention. It also alludes to the role of culture in the definition of obesity and preventive strategies used by AA mothers.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this presentation the participants will be able to: 1. Describe the perceived definition of and contributors to childhood obesity among African American mothers. 2. Identify preventive variables and barriers to African American mothers engaging in childhood obesity preventive behaviors.

Keywords: Obesity, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a doctoral candidate in health education and I have been trained in research methods and topics related to obesity prevention, health disparities, and health education and promotion.
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.