Mealtime resistance: Hispanic mothers' perspectives on making healthy eating changes within the family

Amber Hammons, Norma Olvera, Margarita Teran-Garcia, Elizabeth Villegas, Barbara Fiese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several perceived barriers to healthy eating within the family (e.g., cost, lack of time, energy, accessibility) are documented. However, few studies have assessed Hispanic mothers' perceived barriers and strategies in implementing healthy eating changes in the family's meals. The primary goal of this qualitative study was to investigate Mexican and Puerto Rican mothers' barriers and strategies to creating healthy eating changes within the family at home. A sample of 46 Mexican-American and Puerto Rican mothers in California, Illinois, and Texas participated in this study. An average of 5 mothers participated in a focus group session in Spanish and completed a demographic survey. Focus group thematic analysis revealed that major barriers to implementing healthy eating changes within the family include child and spouse resistance as well as meal preparation time. The resistance mothers reported encountering magnify their meal preparation workload. Mothers shared that they sometimes prepared multiple meals in a single mealtime to please family members. Several strategies to promote healthy eating at home, including serving as role models, providing easy access to healthy food items at home, and not purchasing, or hiding, unhealthy food at home, were also discussed. The current study expands the existing literature by emphasizing the need to empower parents to make healthy changes within their family and the importance of taking fathers and children into account in programming so that the whole family is involved in making healthy changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105046
Pages (from-to)105046
Early online dateNov 21 2020
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Barriers
  • Healthy eating
  • Hispanic families
  • Mealtimes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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