Research Article| Volume 50, ISSUE 10, P968-976, November 2018

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Latino Parents' Perceptions of Physical Activity and Healthy Eating: At the Intersection of Culture, Family, and Health



      To explore Latino parents' perspectives on healthy living and identify strategies to incorporate in a future child obesity intervention.


      Descriptive, qualitative study.


      Participants were recruited from an emerging Latino community (area with low [ < 5%] yet growing concentrations of Latinos) in Allegheny County, PA.


      Thirty-two parents of preschool children participated in 5 Spanish-language focus groups.

      Phenomenon of Interest

      Parents' perceptions of a healthy lifestyle (ie, physical activity and nutrition).


      Data were analyzed using the constant comparison method to identify salient categories, themes, and patterns.


      Three overarching themes were identified: (1) Healthy Living: Beyond One's Control; (2) Estamos Acostumbrados [We Are Used to a Certain Lifestyle]; and (3) Latin American and US Culture Conflict. In general, parents perceived maintaining a healthy lifestyle to require enormous effort and that change was difficult given a lack of knowledge and control.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Key intervention approaches with this population may include a focus on the family environment. Increasing knowledge, building self-efficacy, and modeling behavior through family recipe preparation and physical activity breaks may be necessary, as well as an emphasis on and orientation to community resources to support behavior change and physical activity and healthy eating habits.

      Key Words

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