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Child Obes. 2013 Apr;9(2):157-63. doi: 10.1089/chi.2012.0118. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

A culturally appropriate intervention to improve health behaviors in Hispanic mother-child dyads.

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Department of Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0606, USA.



Obesity interventions targeting Hispanic preschool children are still nascent, and few are culturally appropriate. We evaluated the feasibility of a culturally relevant 9-month intervention program to improve health behaviors in low-income Mexican mothers with 3- to 5-year-old children.


A community engagement approach was used to culturally and linguistically tailor an intervention program that was pilot tested with 33 mother-child dyads enrolled from a large California urban health center. A one-group, pretest-posttest design assessed changes in children's consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), mothers' pedometer steps, and BMI. Data were collected at baseline, postintervention and at 6 months postintervention.


At postintervention, SSB consumption had significantly decreased for soda and other sugary drinks with a modest reduction for 100% juice. Consumption of water had significantly increased, whereas milk had an increased trend. Maternal step counts significantly increased for weekdays by 69% and weekend days by 49%. Overall, maternal BMI decreased while children's BMI% remained stable. At 6 months postintervention, children's soda and juice consumption reverted toward baseline levels, as did maternal step counts, but children's consumption of sugary drinks remained lower, while water and milk remained higher.


Findings suggest that a culturally relevant intervention was feasible for improving target health behaviors in a low-income Mexican community. Future work should assess an enhanced intervention including a maintenance phase for long-term adherence to health behavior changes and influence on maternal and child BMI.

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