Date of Award

Summer 8-2019

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Advisor(s)

R. SUE DAY, MS, PHD

Second Advisor

JEANNE M. PIGA-PLUNKETT, MS, RD, LD

Third Advisor

DEBORAH I. THOMPSON, PHD, RD

Abstract

Along with increasing physical activity, improving nutrition is an important behavior to target to reduce the risk of obesity in children and adolescents. To date, a nutrition-focused mHealth intervention used to promote obesity prevention and healthy living among Hispanic children and adolescents has not been specifically developed for Hispanic mothers. The purpose of this study was to provide information on feasibility and acceptability of a mHealth child nutrition intervention among Hispanic mothers. The data was collected from an online survey and telephone interviews from 30 mothers of 8-12-year-old Hispanic girls. Most mothers were 40 years old or younger (70%), identified race as white (76.7%), and married (86.7%). Ninety three percent of mothers had post-high school education, and most had more than one child under 21 years of age living in their home (86.7%). There was no statistically significant association between Hispanic mothers’ beliefs about their child’s daily fruit and vegetable servings and parent-reported child daily consumption of fruit and vegetables. There was no statistically significant association between mothers’ actions for providing frequency of fruits and vegetables via meals or snacks with the parent-reported child daily consumption of fruit and vegetables. Hispanic mothers’ attitudes of the importance to eat healthy foods and their attitude to encourage healthy eating were not able to be assessed because everyone felt these were both important. The relationship between Hispanic mothers’ perception of control in what their child eats and their attitude to encourage healthy eating was not able to be assessed because all mothers felt it was very important for parents to encourage healthy eating in children. These findings indicate the feasibility of this methodology because parents who participated in this study have access to the needed technology, are familiar with texting, and that texting would be an acceptable child obesity prevention method. Although the study population did not provide the ability to address all the study questions, the results indicate Hispanics are viable research participants to use mHealth and support healthy eating strategies. Texting may be part of the solution for providing health promotion messages relevant for Hispanics.

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