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Engaging Intergenerational Hispanics/Latinos to Examine Factors Influencing Childhood Obesity Using the PRECEDE–PROCEED Model

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Introduction Hispanics/Latinos are disproportionately affected by obesity in the U.S. Multiple factors place Hispanic/Latino children at risk for overweight, warranting guidance of a socio-ecologic approach to examine causes of obesity. The purpose of this study was to increase understanding of the factors that influence Hispanic/Latino childhood obesity through an intergenerational lens including children, parents/caregivers, and grandparents. Methods Eight focus groups were conducted with Hispanics/Latinos (N = 68 adults, N = 22 youth), using a semi-structured moderator’s guide. Audio-recordings were transcribed, and thematically analyzed. Findings were categorized within the PRECEDE–PROCEED planning model. Results Adult participants were middle-aged (M = 37.8 ± 9.8 years) and youth were between the ages of 10–17 (M = 14.0 ± 1.8 years). Six themes emerged: eating habits, cultural perceptions of weight, acculturation, childhood obesity perceptions, economic issues, and generational differences. The major parental influence was lack of time to provide healthy meals due to socio-economic factors: long work hours and availability of nearby fast food options. Youth shared that childhood obesity is due to sedentary behaviors, permissive parenting and lack of parental modeling (the latter two factors often exacerbated by extended work schedules). Discussion Discordant perceptions about unhealthy eating habits emerged. Adults expressed a lack of nutritional knowledge and skills to prepare healthy meals; while adolescents emphasized permissive parenting styles and lack of discipline lead to unhealthy lifestyles in Hispanic families. Findings emphasize involving parents/caregivers and youth to understand discordant perceptions that can inform the development of prevention programs.

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This study was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture Grant #2011-67002-30152. The authors thank the participants for their contribution to the development of the project, and the students and community health workers who assisted with the focus groups.

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Correspondence to Melawhy L. Garcia.

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All study materials and procedures were approved by the California State University Long Beach Institutional Review Board. This study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards described in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

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Garcia, M.L., Gatdula, N., Bonilla, E. et al. Engaging Intergenerational Hispanics/Latinos to Examine Factors Influencing Childhood Obesity Using the PRECEDE–PROCEED Model. Matern Child Health J 23, 802–810 (2019).

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