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A question of balance: a qualitative study of mothers' interpretations of dietary recommendations

Wood, Fiona Claire ORCID:, Robling, Michael Richard ORCID:, Prout, Hayley Christine ORCID:, Kinnersley, Paul Richard, Houston, Helen Louise Ann and Butler, Christopher Collett ORCID: 2010. A question of balance: a qualitative study of mothers' interpretations of dietary recommendations. The Annals of Family Medicine 8 (1) , pp. 51-57. 10.1370/afm.1072

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PURPOSE Poor nutrition is an increasing problem for economically deprived families, and mothers play a key role in establishing children’s diets. We explored mothers’ understanding of health-promotion recommendations for healthy eating. METHODS We conducted qualitative semistructured interviews of 46 mothers within a relatively socioeconomically deprived community. Data were subject to framework analysis. RESULTS The basic slogans of health promotion were known by mothers and had been adopted into everyday language. Television was the main source of information on dietary advice. Barriers to making changes were due to practical constraints (time, money, family preferences) and a desire to enhance quality of life through enjoyment of food. Although the headline messages of the importance of a healthy diet and what constitutes a healthy diet had reached mothers, misunderstandings were common and led to inappropriate actions. Many descriptions of what mothers reported as a balanced diet would not satisfy offi cial defi - nitions. Some women willfully adapted their understanding of advice to suit their preferences and the reality of their lives and family circumstances. CONCLUSIONS To provide effective advice and guidance, health professionals need a deeper understanding of how families interpret messages about healthy eating. In addition, they should provide advice based on more individual understandings of diet and take into account patient preferences and life circumstances.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Systems Immunity Research Institute (SIURI)
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Publisher: Annals of Family Medicine, Inc.
ISSN: 1544-1709
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2022 14:06

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