Parents' and caregivers' concerns about obesity in young children: a qualitative study

Fam Community Health. Oct-Dec 2007;30(4):279-95. doi: 10.1097/01.FCH.0000290541.02834.e0.


To address the childhood obesity epidemic, it is necessary to understand parents' and caregivers' concerns and beliefs regarding their children's weight problems and best practices for addressing those concerns. Formative research methods were used to identify obesity-related concerns of Hispanic, Black, and White parents of young children (5-8 years old) in North Carolina. Participants identified challenges at multiple levels of influence. In all groups, participants reported that they had trouble finding enough time to help their children develop healthy lifestyles. Conflicting family priorities and needs often made it difficult to ensure that their children had healthy diets. Children's own diet and activity preferences and their parent or caregiver's inability to adequately guide their choices also contributed to obesigenic behaviors. In addition, many thought that physician and community support for their efforts to manage their children's eating habits was inadequate. Findings from these focus groups suggest that participants would be receptive to positive, multilevel prevention approaches to help their children attain and maintain healthy weights.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / education*
  • African Americans / psychology
  • Caregivers / education
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Welfare / ethnology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Diet / ethnology*
  • Educational Status
  • Exercise
  • Family Relations / ethnology
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hispanic or Latino / education*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology
  • Humans
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Whites / education*
  • Whites / psychology