Validity and reliability of a measure of Latina mother's nutritional self-efficacy

Amanda R Sintes-Yallen, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Not only has obesity played a role in Texas adults but it is also becoming a large issue among low-income Latino children. In Latino children between 2-5 years of age, the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance data in 1997 found the prevalence of obesity was 12 percent, highest among all ethnic groups. Children learn what and how to eat from their environment. Despite many mothers being working mothers they are still the principal caregivers and source of influence on their toddler's diet. Self-efficacy, a concept created by Albert Bandura, one's belief that one is capable of performing a behavior needed to reach an intended goal, is increasingly becoming important in nutrition and health education. This study is important to understand the degree of impact that a mother's self-efficacy will have on a child's diet. This is useful knowing if influencing a mother's self-efficacy could improve a child's diet to prevent certain public health issues such as obesity and diabetes. The purpose of this study was to examine nutrition self-efficacy of Latina mothers, focusing on sweets and beverage and if their self-efficacy impacted their child's diet. Methods. The data was collected during July-September 2008. Mothers were recruited from two federally qualified San Antonio health centers. In order to qualify, participants had to be Hispanic with children of toddler age. Mothers were informed of incentives available upon completion. The interview consisted of demographic info, a set of five self-efficacy questions repeated at completion, testing reliability and a 24-hour food recall diary asked of the participant's child's diet. Results. There were 225 mothers who participated between both clinics. The Crohnbach alpha scores for the two different times the self-efficacy questions were asked were .44 corresponding to the first time and .49 for the second time. The three most common beverages reported were milk, juice, and water. The mothers who met or gave their child more milk than recommended by the scientific community, 800mg of calcium/3 cups (24oz) set, had a higher self-efficacy score than those who did not meet the standard at all. Mothers who gave their children more juice than the standard recommends, 4-6oz for children 1-6 years of age, had slightly higher self-efficacy scores than mother's who simply met the standard. In general, the lower the mother's self-efficacy, the more sweets they gave their child and vice versa. Conclusion. This study's Kappa values were adequate and this research showed that Latina mothers did in fact have high self-efficacy. In general some of the children's diets did not reflect the current scientific nutrition recommendations. In order to improve self-efficacy and have an impact on children's diets, the scientific community has a responsibility to make recommendations that are easily understood and can be put into practice. The public health community needs to ensure that we encourage those we serve to be more active in their health and educate them about what constitutes good health and nutrition for both themselves and their children.

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Recommended Citation

Sintes-Yallen, Amanda R, "Validity and reliability of a measure of Latina mother's nutritional self-efficacy" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1457585.