Online Program

How do minority fathers perceive their roles in feeding their children?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.

Cesar Higgins Tejera, School of Community Health, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Betty T. Izumi, PhD, MPH, RD, OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Oregon Health & Science University-Portland State University School of Public Health, Portland, OR
Jessica Guernsey, MPH, Multnomah County Health Department, Portland, OR
Derek Griffith, PhD, Center for Research on Men's Health, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Parents play an important role in shaping their children’s eating habits. To date, most research on child feeding has been focused on the role of mothers. Recent studies show fathers’ increasing involvement in feeding their children. However, the role of fathers especially minority fathers in child feeding has rarely been considered. Because parents are important targets for childhood obesity prevention interventions, a greater understanding of the role fathers play in feeding their children is needed. The purpose of this study was to better understand how minority fathers of infants and toddlers perceive their role in feeding their families.  


We conducted 4 focus groups with minority fathers (n=24) of infants and toddlers in Portland, Ore. Two focus groups were conducted in English and two were conducted in Spanish. Pre-focus group surveys assessed sociodemographic factors. Content analysis was used to analyze the data and identify themes across and within focus groups. 


Fathers in our study perceived themselves as actively involved with meal preparation, engaged during family meal time, and important role models for their children. In addition, they perceived themselves as food guardians, or individuals who cared about what their children ate and the eating habits their children developed.  


Our findings suggest that fathers were engaged and involved in feeding their families. Nutrition interventions designed to promote healthy eating habits among children should include their fathers as potential agents of positive change.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss 4 ways in which minority fathers played a role in feeding their families. Describe how child feeding roles among minority fathers differ by race/ethnicity. Discuss implications of study findings for nutrition interventions designed to promote healthy eating habits among children.

Keyword(s): Minority Research, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal co-author in other poster presentations focusing on determinants of eating behaviors of minority fathers (Oregon Public Health Association 2014 Annual Meeting). I have also been a poster presenter on the American Psychiatric Association 2011 Annual Meeting. As a highly capable individual with a strong academic background, I am proud to say that I possess a comprehensive understanding of the role of minority fathers in children eating practices.
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.