Nutrition beliefs of disadvantaged parents of overweight children
Faculty of Regional Professional Studies
School of Business (RPS)
Objective: To explore low socioeconomic parents' beliefs in relation to children's nutrition. Design: A qualitative, longitudinal study over 12 months involving 37 low socioeconomic parents. Setting: Perth, Western Australia. Method: Parents' nutrition-related beliefs were explored via interviews, focus groups and selfintrospections. All parents participating in the study had at least one overweight or obese child aged five to nine years. Results: Seven beliefs that are inconsistent with the recommendations in the nutrition literature were common among the study participants: (1) treats are appropriate for daily consumption; (2) food rewards are appropriate for encouraging good behaviour; (3) overweight children will outgrow their weight problems; (4) it is appropriate for children to regularly eat in front of the television; (5) if children do not get the food they want they will refuse to eat so it is appropriate to give them any food they will eat; (6) it can be difficult to get children to eat breakfast so it is appropriate to give them any food they will eat; and (7) serving cordial is an appropriate way to encourage children to drink more fluids. Conclusion: The suboptimal beliefs that were identified among these low SES parents are likely to be contributing to their children's overweight status and thus are in need of attention in child obesity interventions in general and parent education programmes in particular.