An Exploration of How Mexican American WIC Mothers Obtain Information About Behaviors Associated With Childhood Obesity Risk

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Abstract

Objective:

To explore how a sample of Mexican American mothers with preschool-aged children recruited from a Midwestern Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinic obtained information about 4 behaviors associated with childhood obesity risk: eating, physical activity, screen time, and sleep.

Design:

One-on-one structured interviews in which participants were asked how they communicated with family, learned to take care of their first infant, and obtained information about the 4 targeted behaviors for their preschool-aged child.

Setting:

An urban WIC clinic in the Midwest.

Participants:

Forty Mexican-descent mothers enrolled in WIC with children aged 3–4 years.

Phenomenon of Interest:

Exposure to information about the 4 targeted behaviors among Mexican-descent mothers participating in WIC.

Analysis:

Quantitative and qualitative data were used to characterize and compare across participants.

Results:

Participants primarily obtained information from their child's maternal grandmother during their first child's infancy and from health professionals for their preschool-aged child. Participants typically obtained information through interpersonal communication, television, and magazines. Participants were most interested in healthy eating information and least interested in screen time information. Some participants did not seek information.

Conclusions and Implications:

Participants engaged in different patterns of information seeking across their child's development and the 4 behaviors, which suggests that future research should be behaviorally specific. Findings from this study suggest several hypotheses to test in future research.

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