Prevention of Overweight in Latino Preschoolers by Implementing Culturally Sensitive Nutrition Education

Friday, 16 July 2010: 8:30 AM

Mary Beth Koslap-Petraco, MS, PNP-BC, CPNP
Pediatrics, Department of Health Services Suffolk County, Hauppauge, NY

Learning Objective 1: List cultural issues in the Latino population that lead to overweight in their children.

Learning Objective 2: Identify a culturally sensitive easily reproducible program of nutrition education.


Currently, there is no effective, culturally sensitive paradigm to educate Latina mothers on how to prevent overweight in their young children.  The aim of this project is to implement an easily reproducible program of culturally sensitive nutrition education and evaluate its effectiveness in changing nutritional practice in the target population.   


The sample was drawn from Latino families (N=32) presenting with 3-5 year old children for primary care.  A quasi-experimental one-group pretest-post test time series design with a convenience sample was used to explore nutrition practices at the initial visit and again at the follow up visit.  A culturally sensitive nutritional education teaching sheet was given to each mother in addition to the oral teaching provided.  A questionnaire was given to each Latina mother at the initial visit and again at the follow up visit.  The questionnaire measured her nutrition practices for her child.  Materials were provided in Spanish and English.  Demographic data was evaluated by measures of central tendency.  Inferential statistics were used to determine the effectiveness of the nutritional education program.


The results of the paired two sample, one and two tailed t-test for changes in question responses indicated statistically significant differences between the average responses for 13 out of the 15 questions on the Food Behavior Checklist. The one-tail t-tests indicated statistically significant results demonstrating positive changes in the feeding practices of the Latina mothers. 


Latina mothers were empowered to make changes in the dietary practices of their families, positively affecting the health of their children and reducing the risk of overweight.  Nurses can play an important role in implementing a scientifically supported framework which can assist Latino families in preventing overweight in their children.