Perspectives of Black/African American and Hispanic Parents and Children Living in Under-Resourced Communities Regarding Factors That Influence Food Choices and Decisions: A Qualitative Investigation

Children (Basel). 2021 Mar 18;8(3):236. doi: 10.3390/children8030236.


Families living in under-resourced communities are at risk of obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases. To develop effective interventions, it is important to identify parent and child perspectives of factors that influence food-related choices and decisions. This paper reports qualitative findings from a larger mixed method study investigating this topic. Hybrid thematic analysis was used to code and analyze the interviews. Family-generated photographs of factors influencing food choices were discussed during the interviews. Qualitative findings were organized by the socio-ecological model. Verbatim quotes and photographs were used to support themes. Thirty-six interviews were conducted (18 parents, 18 children). Findings from parents revealed personal (e.g., culture, beliefs, time), family (e.g., mother, child, father, health, finances, cohesiveness), environmental (e.g., availability, convenience, cost), and other (e.g., school food) factors influenced food choices. Similarly, child-reported influences were personal (e.g., preferences, beliefs, taste), family (e.g., mother, family encouragement, father, family time), social (e.g., school, friends), environmental (e.g., availability), and other (e.g., media, sports). The socio-ecological model provided a useful framework for identifying factors that influence food choices and decisions of families living in under-resourced communities. A deeper understanding of these factors could enhance both responsiveness and effectiveness of interventions to enhance diet and reduce obesity risk in families living in under-resourced communities.

Keywords: Black/African American; Hispanic; children; culinary; minority; parents; photo-voice; qualitative; socio-ecological model; under-resourced.

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