Online Program

Uncovering early childhood feeding strategies for health promotion and obesity prevention

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Lisa Aponte-Soto, MHA, Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, S. Chicago Heights, IL
Childhood obesity impacts a third of all American children. Specifically, Puerto Rican children are disproportionately affected by obesity and its related comorbidities (Estarziau et al., 2006). Among the contributors of obesity, parental sociocultural and socioeconomic factors play an important role in shaping early childhood health behavior, which may predispose children to obesity risk (Savage, Fisher & Birch, 2007). However, the impact of Puerto Rican child-feeding styles on childhood obesity is poorly understood and limited to extrapolations based on Mexican American samples. As the second largest Latino subgroup in the U.S., it is important to understand the health behaviors of Puerto Ricans in relation to cultural beliefs, feedings practices, and overweight. A cross-sectional survey design was employed to uncover Puerto Rican maternal child-feeding practices that will foster the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Interviews were conducted with 100 mothers-child pairs recruited from 6 early childhood centers in Chicago. Analyses revealed that mothers were more likely to practice health promoting feeding practices, but when unhealthy strategies were used, the children were more likely to be overweight. Data collected on weight status indicated that most children had a healthy BMI (71%), but were overweight based on waist circumference (WC; 57%). Girls had a higher obesity risk than boys. Maternal WC was a better predictor of child overweight than BMI. Maternal pressure to eat, child control and food restriction increased child obesity risk. Findings will inform best practices for structuring and implementing family-oriented, community-level obesity prevention interventions tailored to Puerto Rican populations.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Identify socio-cultural factors that predispose Puerto Rican children to a life trajectory of overweight and obesity; Describe health promoting, asset-based behaviors most salient for combating childhood obesity; Discuss implications for developing family-oriented, community-level interventions.

Keyword(s): Child Health Promotion, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: the research being presented is based on my dissertation research. I also have experience conducting community-based research with and implementing health promotion program for Latino populations.
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.