Healthful eating and physical activity in the home environment: results from multifamily focus groups

J Nutr Educ Behav. Mar-Apr 2012;44(2):123-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.06.011. Epub 2011 Dec 20.


Objective: To explore multiple family members' perceptions of risk and protective factors for healthful eating and physical activity in the home.

Design: Ten multifamily focus groups were conducted with 26 families.

Setting and participants: Community setting with primarily black and white families. Family members (n = 103) were aged 8 to 61 years.

Main outcome measures: Risk and protective factors for healthful eating and physical activity in the home environment.

Analysis: A grounded hermeneutic approach.

Results: Ten major themes were identified by family members related to health behaviors in the home environment, including accessibility to healthful foods and activity, time constraints, stage of youth development, individual investment in health behaviors, family investment in health behaviors, family meals and shared activities, parent modeling, making health behaviors fun, making health behaviors part of the family lifestyle, and community investment in family health behaviors.

Conclusions and implications: This study identified the importance of the family system and the reciprocal influences within the home environment on health behaviors. In addition, individual and community-level suggestions were identified. Insights from the families provide leads for future research and ideas for the prevention of youth obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Diet / psychology
  • Eating
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Family / ethnology
  • Family / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Motor Activity
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Young Adult