To gain insight into parents' perceptions of the food preferences of their young adolescents, and their negotiating and decision-making strategies around food purchasing and meals, four focus groups were held with 32 African-American parents and three focus groups with 14 Spanish-dominant, first-generation immigrant Latina mothers. Most participants were of low socioeconomic status and were single parents. Many African-American parents emphasized children's growing appetites and preferences for fast food. Many reported making weekday dinner decisions jointly with the child or allowing the child to eat a lunch-like alternative, and allowing serve-yourself meals on weekends. A few prepared traditional ethnic foods. Latina parents reported that their children liked ethnic foods and fast/junk foods. They emphasized buying foods their children wanted, making no eating restrictions, and preparing traditional ethnic dinners without alternatives. African-American and Latina parents displayed concern over whether to place restrictions on young adolescents' eating. Further research is needed on the ways in which socioeconomic inequalities compound barriers to healthful eating, with particular attention to low income and immigrant populations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was conducted with funds from the J.B. Hawley Student Research Award (University of Minnesota, Division of Epidemiology, No. 663-2300-41).