Cultural perceptions of Arab American Muslim parents about healthy eating and activity for their school-age children
Methods: A focused ethnographic approach was used. Thirty-two Arab American Muslim parents and guardians from the Northeastern U.S. were recruited. Data were collected using focus group interviews at schools and community settings. Leininger’s four phases of qualitative data analysis were used to analyze the focus group transcripts and field notes.
Results: The majority of the participants were female (66%), married (90%), and employed outside the home (50%), average age (44 years) and average years lived in the United States (18 years). Four themes were identified: homemade meals are healthier, parents are responsible for children’s health habits, positive and negative environmental influences affect children’s health habits, and cultural beliefs conflict with American customs.
Conclusions: Results from this study suggest that it is necessary to develop targeted, culturally-tailored interventions for school-aged Arab American children aimed at reducing obesity. This intervention should incorporate technological resources, educate and train healthcare professionals and teachers, and garner support from parents.
Learning Areas:Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health
Describe the importance of immigrants cultural context in promoting healthy behavior Describe the importance of eating healthy traditional diets and adoption of healthy habits Identify the role of healthcare providers in achieving the stated objectives
Keyword(s): Immigrant Health, Vulnerable Populations
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a trained epidemiologist, health educator and a passionate advocate of improving the health of immigrants. I was the principal investigator (PI) for the immigrant study that examined Arab Americansâ perceptions of healthy eating and physical activity; the Co-PI on another study investigating African immigrantsâ perceptions and practices around healthy eating and physical activity through photovoice. I spent the last 14 years as an independent consultant conducting various needs assessments and program evaluations.
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.