Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

The Lived Experiences of Mexican-Heritage Mothers Caring for Overweight Preschool Children

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

The Lived Experiences of Mexican-Heritage Mothers Caring for Overweight Preschool Children

Article excerpt

In children, ages 2 to 5 years, the rate of obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years (Ogden & Carroll, 2010). When examining Body Mass Index (BMI) data from preschool children enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), this trend may be slowing. In high-risk populations, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) observed a flattening in the rate of children, ages 2 to 5 years, classified as obese (IOM, 2014).

Despite this trend, Hispanic children classified as overweight ([greater than or equal to] 85th percentile for BMI) or obese ([greater than or equal to] 95th percentile for BMI) continue to outpace their non-Hispanic peers. When examining the NHANES 2010-2011 data, 29.8% of Hispanic children were at or above the 85th percentile for BMI and 16.7% were at or above the 95th percentile (Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2014).

Among the states, Texas has the 6th highest rate of childhood obesity (IOM, 2009). Of the low-income preschool aged children enrolled in the Texas WIC Program, 30% were overweight or obese (Texas Interagency Obesity Council, 2011). Hispanic children had one of the highest rates of overweight or obesity (Texas Department of State Health Services, 2011).

The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of Mexican mothers caring for overweight or obese preschool children. To be successful as nurses, it is important for us to understand what is happening in the lives of the families for whom we care. This study utilized a hermeneutic phenomenological approach guided by the phenomenological approach of Max van Manen to examine both the descriptive and interpretive aspects of the phenomenon. Methods of sample selection, data collection and analysis that are congruent with this approach will be described.

Significance of the Topic

Elevated BMI values can cause problems in childhood and adulthood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014), excessive weight is linked to physical, emotional, and social health problems. Physical health problems include glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, fatty liver disease, cholelithiasis, sleep apnea, asthma, skin conditions, menstrual abnormalities, and orthopedic problems. Children who are overweight are more susceptible to low self-esteem, negative body image, and depression. They are stigmatized and the targets of teasing and bullying, negative stereotyping, discrimination, and social marginalization. These problems can continue into adulthood since obese children are more likely to become obese adults (Texas Department of State Health Services, 2011).

Hispanic children are significantly at risk for developing obesity (Hackie & Bowles, 2007; Kimbro, Brooks-Gunn, & McLanahan, 2007; Maher, Li, Carter, & Johnson, 2008; Procter & Holcomb, 2008; Whitaker & Orzol, 2006). They are twice as likely as either black or white children to be overweight or obese (Kimbro et al., 2007). Multiple factors have been identified including socioeconomic status, parental education and perception, sweetened beverage intake, and nutrition in the home.

In Texas, 25.8% of the population of East Texas falls below the poverty level (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). Low income has been noted to be a risk factor for obesity among Hispanics (Hackie & Bowles, 2007; Maher et al, 2008; Procter & Holcomb, 2008; Reineke, 2008; Welsh et al., 2005; Whitaker & Orzol, 2006). In a study of 4,382 Mexican American families, the household income to poverty rate ranged from 33.4% for third-generation Mexican Americans to 75.6% for first-generation families (Burgos, Schetzina, Dixon, & Mendoza, 2005). Low parental education was cited as associated with the development of childhood obesity (Dubois et al., 2007; Hackie & Bowles, 2007; Jingxiong et al., 2009; Warschburger & Kroeller, 2009). …

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