Body image, weight, and food choices of Latina women and their young children.
To investigate body image perceptions of women about themselves and their young children and their relationship to their food choices and those of their children.
Descriptive and correlational study.
PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING
187 low-income, Latina women and their children, ages 5 to 7 years and 52% female, in New York City.
Body image, food frequency, body mass index (BMI) of mothers and children, and food choice criteria of mothers for their children.
Descriptive statistics and correlations.
All of the women selected a relatively thin body image as the most desirable, attractive, fit, and healthy (about 2.5 on a scale of 1-7). Body size dissatisfaction or wish to be thinner was significantly associated with more healthful diets. Tertiles (thirds) of children at the 50th and 75th mean BMI-for-age percentiles were thought to be too thin to be attractive or healthy and the third of children with a mean above the 97th percentile only barely too large. Mothers with the highest body mass indices may make the least healthful choices for their children.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
These Latina women preferred a thin figure for themselves but a plumper figure for their children. Culturally competent nutrition education incorporating body image issues needs to assist mothers in understanding the health consequences of childhood obesity, recognizing when their children are overweight, and understanding the importance of healthful food choices for their children.
Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA. Irc6@columbia.edu
SourceJournal of nutrition education and behavior 35:5 pg 236-48
Body Mass Index
Child Nutrition Disorders
New York City
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.