P36 Hispanic Mothers’ Barriers to Making Healthy Eating Changes Within the Family


      Hispanic adults have the highest rates of overweight and obesity of any racial or ethnic group. Several barriers to healthy eating within the family (eg, lack of time, energy, accessibility, and cost) are well documented. However, few studies have assessed Hispanic mothers’ perceived barriers, specifically on implementing healthy eating changes in the family's meals and anticipated family members’ responses to healthy eating changes.


      The primary objective of this study was to assess Hispanic mothers’ perceived barriers in creating healthy eating changes within the family.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Sixty-one Mexican-American and Puerto Rican mothers enrolled across 4 states (California, Illinois, Iowa, and Texas) who participated in 13 focus groups. These 4 states were selected due to their locations and concentrations of Mexican-American and Puerto Rican families. Eligibility criteria included being Mexican American or Puerto Rican descent, and having a child between the ages of 6-18.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Focus groups were transcribed verbatim and then translated to English by 2 independent research assistants for accuracy purposes. The analysis was guided by grounded theory, using a systematic approach to help patterns in the data to be discovered and identified. Themes were created within and across codes by multiple researchers and representative quotes were selected.


      Participating mothers felt that the largest barriers to implementing healthy eating changes within the home would be child and spouse resistance. Mothers largely felt that family members would not welcome healthy changes. The resistance mothers encounter may magnify their workload as several mothers talked about having to make multiple meals in a single mealtime to ensure that everyone was fed.


      The present study adds to the literature because the focus is on Mexican, Mexican-American, and Puerto Rican families. Family interventions targeting Hispanic families should include an emphasis on empowering parents and providing strategies to increase the likelihood of all family members eating the same meal.
      Funding: USDA.

      Appendix. Supplementary data