Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of



Weiwen Chai

Date of this Version



Global Qualitative Nursing Research Volume 4: 1– 11


© The Author(s) 2017


Given the importance of parental influence on children’s eating habits, we explored perceptions of parents of overweight (body mass index–for-age percentile ≥85%) preschoolers (3-5 years) and overweight school-aged children (6-12 years) regarding challenges in promoting fruit and vegetable intake and how they and other family members influence their overweight children’s dietary habits. Focus groups were conducted with 13 parents of overweight preschoolers and 14 parents of overweight school-aged children. Codes and themes were developed by inductive data analysis. Four common themes were identified: short shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables prohibiting parents from purchasing, children’s taste changes in fruits and vegetables, parents having the primary influence on children’s dietary intake, and wanting fruits and vegetables “ready to go.” Parents of school-aged children were more concerned about their children’s weight, and extended family members negatively influenced children’s dietary intake compared with parents of preschoolers. Our findings provide valuable insight for nutrition/health educators when developing family-based interventions for weight management.