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Focus Groups Identify Desirable Features of Nutrition Programs for Low-Income Mothers of Preschool Children

  • DEBRA B. REED
    Affiliations
    Debra B. Reed an assistant professor at the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, School of Human Ecology, 137 Human Ecology Blag, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-4300, USA
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      The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage Americans older than 2 years to consume foods lower in fat and higher in complex carbohydrates (
      ). The critical role of eating habits developed in childhood on adult eating habits emphasizes the need for early intervention (
      • Birch L.L.
      Children's preferences for high-fat foods.
      ). Previous research with children shows that parents should be included in interventions to achieve long-term positive dietary effects (
      • Kirks B.A.
      • Hughes C.
      Long-term behavioral effects of parent involvement in nutrition education.
      ). However, traditional nutrition education classes are not well attended by working parents (
      • Koblinsky S.A.
      • Guthrie J.F.
      • Lynch L.
      Evaluation of a nutrition education program for Head Start parents.
      ). Lack of education and income impose additional constraints on some parents who are trying to improve their eating habits and those of their children (
      • Pestano-Binghay E.
      • Reis J.
      • Walters M.
      Nutrition education issues for minority parents a needs assessment.
      ,
      • Hartman T.J.
      • McCarthy P.R.
      • Park R.J.
      • Schuster E.
      • Kushi L.H.
      Focus group responses of potential participants in a nutrition education program for individuals with limited literacy skills.
      ). To more effectively meet the educational needs of target populations, such as low-income working mothers with low education levels, a needs assessment should be done before program development (
      • Pestano-Binghay E.
      • Reis J.
      • Walters M.
      Nutrition education issues for minority parents a needs assessment.
      ,
      • Hartman T.J.
      • McCarthy P.R.
      • Park R.J.
      • Schuster E.
      • Kushi L.H.
      Focus group responses of potential participants in a nutrition education program for individuals with limited literacy skills.
      ,
      • Crockett S.J.
      • Heller K.E.
      • Merkel J.M.
      • Peterson J.M.
      Assessing beliefs of older rural Americans about nutrition education use of the focus group approach.
      ). The focus group discussion method has been useful in determining the nutrition education needs of various groups by actively involving participants (
      • Hartman T.J.
      • McCarthy P.R.
      • Park R.J.
      • Schuster E.
      • Kushi L.H.
      Focus group responses of potential participants in a nutrition education program for individuals with limited literacy skills.
      ,
      • Crockett S.J.
      • Heller K.E.
      • Merkel J.M.
      • Peterson J.M.
      Assessing beliefs of older rural Americans about nutrition education use of the focus group approach.
      ).
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