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Diabetes Educ. 2003 Nov-Dec;29(6):997-1004.

The family context of an intervention to prevent type 2 diabetes in high-risk teens.

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  • 1Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.



This research describes the family context of eating and mealtime patterns in young adolescents at high risk for type 2 diabetes and the implications for preventing this disease.


Ten families, each consisting of a child and one parent, participated in individual, semistructured interviews that focused on family eating patterns. Topics included meal schedules, food preparation, family eating patterns, school eating patterns, and perception of the child's weight. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using focused summaries and thematic analysis methods.


Four main themes were identified: child and family eating patterns, perspectives on obesity, perspectives on weight control, and health concerns. Family eating patterns were often inconsistent, and few healthy eating models were available at home or school. Obesity was not always seen as a negative factor, particularly by the youth. Weight-control efforts were sporadic, typically unsuccessful, and consisted primarily of intermittent increases in physical activity. Parents did not actively participate in their child's weight-control efforts.


Effective interventions for obesity and prevention of type 2 diabetes in youth should include parents in both cognitive and behavioral strategies.

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