Understanding Mothers' Perceptions of Food Skills: A Qualitative Study.

Affiliation

Kopetsky A(1), Baker S(2), Hobbs K(2), Robson S(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, University of Delaware, Newark, DE. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Food skills are behaviors surrounding the planning, purchasing, and preparing of food. Food skills have been identified as important for promoting diet quality. Little work has investigated specific food skills perceived by parents to promote a healthy diet or parents' perceived barriers to implementing food skills. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to determine current food skills that parents identify as helpful behaviors for consuming a healthy diet and the perceived barriers to implementing food skills. DESIGN: We conducted a qualitative study using focus groups with mothers (18 years or older) who reported being primarily responsible for acquiring and preparing food. PARTICIPANTS/SETTING: Thirty mothers with at least 1 child under the age of 18 years were asked to attend 1 of 5 focus groups held in a university setting. MAIN OUTCOMES: Outcomes included emergent themes and subthemes within the domains of food skill behaviors identified as helpful and perceived barriers to implementing food skills. ANALYSIS: Focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used to analyze transcripts and descriptive statistics were used to characterize participant demographics. RESULTS: Food skill themes identified as helpful behaviors for consuming a healthy diet included mothers' resourcefulness, overall planning behaviors, and child involvement and influence. Themes for barriers to implementing food skills included limited time, cooking for multiple needs and tastes, exposure to food and sales while shopping, and food cost. CONCLUSIONS: Qualitative findings indicated that mothers need behavior strategies for time management, meeting multiple family needs, dealing with exposure to food and sales, and food resource management rather than being provided solely with education. These findings can inform future behavior-based interventions to improve the diet quality of families.