Exploring Food Decision Processes of Latino Families in California’s Central Valley


Background and Purpose: Latino children are more likely to be overweight than non-Latino whites. Family food context research is relevant to the prevention of overweight. The purpose of the study was to identify patterns in Latino family food decisions related to the dinner routine. Methods: In 2013-2014, thirty-four in-depth interviews were conducted with twenty-two Latina mothers with children age 5-10 in California’s Central Valley. Previously published research informed the semi-structured interview guide. A grounded theory methodology was used to identify themes. Results: Four salient food decision approaches emerged. Families exhibited six combinations of these approaches. Mothers’ explicit health goals guide the health approach. The traditional approach emphasizes eating favorite recipes. In the developmental approach, parents modify the main meal for children based on the belief children will develop an adult’s taste over time. The path of least resistance favors expediency over other concerns. Conclusion: While the path of least resistance and health approaches have previously been observed among other populations, this paper provides findings on these categories among Latinos. Additionally, our findings on the developmental and traditional approaches expand the body of knowledge on food decisions. The guiding approaches provide a framework that can be sensitive to diverse food schemas.
How to Cite
Sawyer, M. T., Duran, N., & Wallace, S. P. (2019). Exploring Food Decision Processes of Latino Families in California’s Central Valley. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 17(1), 31-44. https://doi.org/10.32398/cjhp.v17i1.2222