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Immigrants in the USA are confronted with health disparities, including childhood obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases. We aimed to identify perceptions of childhood body weight, approaches to raising healthy children and desires for supportive programmes of Somali, Latino and Hmong (SLM) parents in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA.
Using community-based participatory research, ten focus groups (FG) were conducted with sixty-seven parents (n 28 Somali, three FG; n 19 Latino, four FG; n 20 Hmong, three FG) of 3–12-year-old children in their native language. Demographic information was collected.
SLM parents perceived that health is not necessarily weight-based; childhood obesity is caused by overeating, eating unhealthy foods and sedentary activities; traditional foods are generally healthy while American foods are generally unhealthy; and healthy children are inherently physically active. Parents identified their goals as feeding children so they would be healthy and happy, helping them be active and safe, and teaching them to cook traditional foods to be self-sufficient and maintain their cultural identity. Parents were challenged by children’s unhealthy food and sedentary preferences, their own uncertainties about healthy foods and behaviours, and structural factors. Parents thought interventions could help them with these challenges, including information about healthy foods, age-appropriate portion sizes, safe places to be active and strategies tailored to their cultural norms.
SLM parents are trying to raise healthy-weight children based on their understanding of children’s health, weight, diet and physical activity, while dealing with social, economic and environmental challenges and trying to maintain cultural identity and traditions.
To evaluate associations between home environmental factors and BMI of young American-Indian children.
Cross-sectional and prospective study.
School-based obesity prevention trial (Bright Start) on a Northern Plains Indian reservation in South Dakota. Mixed model multivariable analysis was used to examine associations between child BMI categories (normal, overweight and obese) and home food availability, children's dietary intake and physical activity. Analyses were adjusted for age, gender, socio-economic status, parent BMI and school; prospective analyses also adjusted for study condition and baseline predictor and outcome variables.
Kindergarten children (n 424, 51 % male; mean age = 5·8 years, 30 % overweight/obese) and parents/caregivers (89 % female; 86 % overweight/obese) had their height and weight measured and parents/caregivers completed surveys on home environmental factors (baseline and 2 years later).
Higher fast-food intake and parent-perceived barriers to physical activity were marginally associated with higher probabilities of a child being overweight and obese. Vegetable availability was marginally associated with lower probabilities of being overweight and obese. The associations between home environmental factors and child weight status at follow-up were not significant.
Findings indicate that selected aspects of the home environment are associated with weight status of American-Indian children. Obesity interventions with this population should consider helping parents to engage and model healthful behaviours and to increase availability of healthful foods at home.
To examine longitudinal associations of parental report of household food availability and parent intakes of fruits, vegetables and dairy foods with adolescent intakes of the same foods. This study expands upon the limited research of longitudinal studies examining the role of parents and household food availability in adolescent dietary intakes.
Longitudinal study. Project EAT-II followed an ethnically and socio-economically diverse sample of adolescents from 1999 (time 1) to 2004 (time 2). In addition to the Project EAT survey, adolescents completed the Youth Adolescent Food-Frequency Questionnaire in both time periods, and parents of adolescents completed a telephone survey at time 1. General linear modelling was used to examine the relationship between parent intake and home availability and adolescent intake, adjusting for time 1 adolescent intakes. Associations were examined separately for the high school and young adult cohorts and separately for males and females in combined cohorts.
The sample included 509 pairs of parents/guardians and adolescents.
Vegetables served at dinner significantly predicted adolescent intakes of vegetables for males (P = 0.037), females (P = 0.009), high school (P = 0.033) and young adults (P = 0.05) at 5-year follow-up. Among young adults, serving milk at dinner predicted dairy intake (P = 0.002). Time 1 parental intakes significantly predicted intakes of young adults for fruit (P = 0.044), vegetables (P = 0.041) and dairy foods (P = 0.008). Parental intake predicted intake of dairy for females (P = 0.02).
The findings suggest the importance of providing parents of adolescents with knowledge and skills to enhance the home food environment and improve their own eating behaviours.
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