Moving Children Toward a Better Life: Hispanic Mothers' Vision for Leisure Activity
AuthorAnderson, Sue A.
AdvisorKoithan, Mary S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBackground: Childhood obesity is epidemic, and Hispanic children bear a particularly high health burden because of it. Evidence suggests that obesity prevention is a better option than intervention. Because schools have decreased the amount of time spent in physical education classes, leisure time has become the time to engage in physical activity, which may prevent obesity. Social ecology theory posits that a person’s interaction with the environment has a strong influence on health promoting behavior. Further, this theory suggests that cultural values also play a role. The extant literature points to the sedentary nature of Hispanic children. However, it does not provide a description of the activities that children engage in during their leisure time, or how they are influenced by their family, culture, and community’s environment. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe and provide an understanding of how leisure time is viewed by Hispanic families, and how family and culture influences Hispanic children’s participation in leisure time activity. Two broad research questions were addressed: 1) How do Hispanic families describe leisure time activities? and 2) How do culture, family and the community environment influence a Hispanic child’s participation in leisure time activities? Methods: This ethnographic study incorporated photographs taken by English-speaking Hispanic mothers of children between 6 and 10 years old (n=10) as they engaged in leisure activities for one week. The participants engaged in photo-elicited interviews, describing the children’s activities and performed initial data analysis by sorting the photos in the categories of activities. Findings: Girls were more sedentary, engaging in intellectually stimulating and creative play activities inside, with family members or alone. Boys were more active, engaging in unstructured play activities outside with family members or friends. The children engaged in these activities to promote their health, prepare for their adult lives, and for fun. Cultural tensions experienced by the children’s parents had a profound influence on their leisure time choices and decisions. Activities were used to prepare the children for a better life, and to teach them to balance work and fun. Ultimately, the participants wanted their children to live a balanced life; one that is happy, healthy, and successful. Relevance: The children engaged in purposefully planned leisure activities aimed to ensure their health, happiness, and success in the U.S. The participants acknowledged that to achieve a better life, the children must become expert multicultural navigators. While many of the activities were sedentary, they had important implications for the children’s future. Health care providers must consider how patients view leisure time, and enlist their ideas in order to make children’s activities more physically active.
Degree ProgramGraduate College