Maternal Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Feeding Practices in Elementary School−Aged Latino Children: A Pilot Qualitative Study on the Impact of the Cultural Role of Mothers in the US−Mexican Border Region of San Diego, California

Published:December 04, 2013DOI:


      This study aimed to explore the attitudes and behaviors of Latino mothers around feeding their children. Using qualitative methods, we conducted four focus groups in Spanish with 41 Latino mothers of elementary school-age children in San Diego County, CA. Latino mothers' mean age was 41 years; 90% were foreign-born; and 74% had a high school education or less. We explored cultural viewpoints around feeding and cooking and feeding strategies used. Focus groups were analyzed based on a priori and emergent themes. The following themes around feeding emerged: feeding attitudes central to the maternal responsibility of having well-fed children and feeding behaviors that centered on cooking methods, supportive behaviors, and reinforcement strategies for “eating well.” These findings increase our understanding of the Latino maternal role to feed children and can help to inform more culturally appropriate research to effectively address nutritional issues and obesity prevention in Latino children.


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      S. M. Martinez is a postdoctoral scholar, University of California, San Francisco; at the time of the study, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla.


      K. Rhee is an assistant professor of pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla.


      E. Blanco is a research coordinator, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla.


      K. Boutelle is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla.