Chinese new immigrant mothers' perception about adult-onset non-communicable diseases prevention during childhood

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Abstract

Many non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are largely preventable via behaviour change and healthy lifestyle, which may be best established during childhood. This study sought insights into Chinese new immigrant mothers' perceptions about adult-onset NCDs prevention during childhood. Twenty-three semi-structured interviews were carried out with new immigrant mothers from mainland China who had at least one child aged 14 years or younger living in Hong Kong. Interviews were audio taped, transcribed and analysed using a Grounded Theory approach. The present study identified three major themes: perceived causes of adult NCDs, beliefs about NCDs prevention and everyday health information practices. Unhealthy lifestyle, contaminated food and environment pollution were perceived as the primary causes of adult NCDs. Less than half of the participants recognized that parents had responsibility for helping children establish healthy behaviours from an early age to prevent diseases in later life. Most participants expressed helplessness about chronic diseases prevention due to lack of knowledge of prevention, being perceived as beyond individual control. Many participants experienced barriers to seeking health information, the most common sources of health information being interpersonal conversation and television. Participants' everyday information practice was passive and generally lacked awareness regarding early prevention of adult-onset NCDs. Updated understanding of this issue has notable implications for future health promotion interventions.

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