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"He's still a child right now, so he has a long way to go to try to keep his health up there": Caregiver Strategies to Promote the Nutritional Health of Low-income, African American Children

Robin L. Jarrett, Ezella M. McPherson and Ozge Sensoy Bahar
Women, Gender, and Families of Color
Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 2013), pp. 1-32
DOI: 10.5406/womgenfamcol.1.1.0001
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/womgenfamcol.1.1.0001
Page Count: 32
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"He's still a child right now, so he has a long way
to go to try to keep his health up there":
Caregiver Strategies to Promote the Nutritional
Health of Low-income, African American Children
Preview not available

Abstract

Little research examines how families respond to the neighborhood food environment and family poverty barriers to children's nutritional health. Informed by a family strengths perspective that emphasizes agency, this exploratory study used qualitative data from twelve low-income African American female caregivers to explore strategies that women used to promote the nutritional health of their preschool-age children. We identified multiple restrictive and promotional strategies that caregivers utilized in the face of limited family resources and the poor quality of the neighborhood food environment. Monitoring was used as the key restrictive strategy to counter children's unhealthy eating practices. Six promotional strategies, which included selective food availability, cooking techniques, creative meal preparation and presentation, positive role-modeling, teaching and instruction, and media reinforcement, were used to enhance healthy nutritional patterns. These findings fill a substantive gap in our understanding of health-promoting practices in low-income African American households, and provide direction for family, neighborhood, and institutional efforts to promote healthy child nutrition.

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