AuthorFoukas, Tia N.
AdvisorRussell-Kibble, Audrey I.
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.
AbstractObesity affects Mexican American adolescents at a much higher rate compared to other ethnic groups, yet little information exists regarding Mexican American adolescents' perceptions of obesity. Culture influences many aspects of one's health, and when better understood, can aid in predicting health behaviors. Several major Mexican cultural values may contribute to Mexican American adolescents' perceptions of obesity and overall health. Healthcare providers must have a deeper understanding of how culture influences adolescents' perceptions of obesity to reduce the obesity trend that currently exists among these adolescents. Qualitative descriptive methodology was used to identify cultural values that likely influence Mexican American adolescents' perceptions of obesity. Five participants were recruited from a local Mexican American church organization in southern Arizona. The researcher conducted a focus group interview at a local library. The interview was conducted in English and audio-recorded for accuracy. A demographic questionnaire was also used to aid in data collection. The overarching theme that emerged from the data analysis was, "Food, Family, and Fidelidad." Major themes that support this overarching theme include: (a) knowledge about obesity, (b) perceptions of obesity, and (c) parental respect. These findings were interpreted using the concepts of the Health Belief Model. Cultural values (e.g., respeto, familismo, machismo, marianismo) and non-cultural factors (e.g., the media, youth organizations, and personal nutritional knowledge) highly influenced participants' perceptions of obesity. With a greater knowledge of how Mexican cultural values as well as non-cultural factors influence Mexican American adolescents' perceptions of obesity, healthcare providers will be better equipped and better prepared to give this population quality, patient-centered care, and can use this knowledge to create dynamic treatment options that reflect Mexican American adolescents' needs, values, concerns, and beliefs. These actions will greatly contribute to closing the healthcare gap that currently exists between healthcare providers and this vulnerable group of individuals.
Degree ProgramGraduate College