A qualitative study of the day-to-day lives of obese Mexican-American adolescent females

Pediatrics. 2013 Jun;131(6):1132-8. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2114. Epub 2013 May 27.


Objective: In an effort to develop more effective weight-loss interventions, this study examined the daily experiences and personal struggles of Mexican-American adolescent females with morbid obesity.

Methods: Twenty self-identified, morbidly obese Mexican-American adolescent females and their families were interviewed about their food choices, personal and family barriers to weight loss, sources of support, previous weight-loss experience, and weight-related beliefs. Qualitative responses were coded by using framework analysis.

Results: Four themes emerged from the adolescent and family responses: the impact of normal adolescent development, multiple sources of excess calories, the physical and emotional burden of excess weight for the adolescent, and the magnitude of the family's personal struggle with weight management. Multiple subthemes were also identified.

Conclusions: Responses by the adolescents and their families highlighted the intersection of adolescence and Mexican-American culture and the daily challenges of obesity. Recommendations for providers include incorporating knowledge of adolescent development and culturally sensitive care into treatment recommendations.

Keywords: Mexican-Americans; adolescent obesity; minority health; obesity; qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mexican Americans / psychology*
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Minority Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Obesity, Morbid / ethnology*
  • Obesity, Morbid / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult