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A Qualitative Study of Puerto Rican Parent and ChildPerceptions Regarding Eating Patterns

Rodríguez-Pérez, Robinson, Correa-Matos, Nancy, Valdés-Valderrama, Angélica, Rodríguez-Cruz, Luis Alexis, Rodríguez, María C.
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2019 v.51 no.5 pp. 608-615
adolescents, caregivers, children, eating habits, economic costs, education programs, focus groups, food choices, foods, healthy diet, interviews, nutrition education, parents
To identify barriers that prevent healthy eating practices in Puerto Rican early adolescents (EAs).Qualitative data collected via focus groups. A total of 7 focus groups were conducted: 5 with EAs and 2 with parents and caregivers (PCs).Urban and rural Puerto Rico.Early adolescents aged 12–14years (n = 52) and PCs (n = 17).Factors that prevent healthy eating behavior in EAs in Puerto Rico.Verbatim transcripts from focus group interviews were coded for concept frequency, extension, and content analysis.The 3 main factors that influenced participants’ eating habits, according to EAs’ and PCs’ answers, were stores that sold less healthful foods on or near school and the community, parental influence in the development of unhealthy eating habits, and the low cost of unhealthy foods.When EAs chose what to eat, primary food choices were based on taste preferences, physical access, economic cost, and influence of PCs, whereas health effects had little consideration. Nutrition education programs have to meet taste preferences and provide eating options that are affordable, accessible, and easy to prepare to achieve healthy food practices among EAs.