Child-feeding strategies of African American women according to stage of change for fruit and vegetable consumption

Kathy Reimer, Chery Smith, Marla Reicks, Helen Henry, Ruth Thomas, Janine Atwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective.. To examine the relationship between child-feeding strategies and the stage of change for fruit and vegetable consumption of low-income African American women. Design: Mothers were asked to think aloud as they shopped for groceries and prepared a meal for their family. Verbalisations were audio-taped and transcribed. Transcripts were coded. Coded segments were sorted according to stage of change of the women who made the verbalisation. Themes were identified and analysed for differences across the stages of change. Child-feeding strategies and factors influencing provision of fruits and vegetables to children were identified through content analysis procedures. Setting/subjects: Seventy women, aged 18 to 45 years, were classified by stage of change (10 to 18 per stage) based on self-reported intakes of fruits and vegetables and intention to increase intake. Women on average had two to three children less than 12 years of age and tended to be single heads of households, with about half having some college or technical training. Results: According to the women's comments, food preferences of children were important considerations for women in all stages regarding their food choice behaviours. Women in the later stages reported using more positive child-feeding strategies to promote the intake of fruit and vegetables, including positive role-modelling and methods related to food purchasing, preparation and meal planning. Conclusions: Promoting mothers' movement to more advanced stages of change for fruit and vegetable intake may result in the use of more positive child-feeding strategies and therefore contribute to increased fruit and vegetable intake by children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-512
Number of pages8
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by USDA-CSREES 00-35200-9064.


  • African American women
  • Child-feeding strategies
  • Fruit and vegetable intake
  • Stages of change
  • Think aloud method


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