Children’s healthy eating habits and parents’ socio-demographic characteristics in rural Texas, USA Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2018, The Author(s) 2018. Objective: Due to the disproportionately high rates of obesity within the US Hispanic community, there is a critical need to address this health disparity issue. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between parents’ socio-demographic characteristics and their children’s food consumption. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Participants were recruited from schools in a predominately Hispanic rural area of Texas, USA. Method: Parents (n = 298) of fourth grade (9–10 years old) children completed the survey. The independent variables were parents’ socio-demographic characteristics (e.g. ethnicity and income). The outcome variable was a Healthy Eating Index that refleting children’s frequencies of food consumption measured as daily frequency of consumption for healthy foods (e.g. skimmed milk), less healthy foods (e.g. potato) and unhealthy foods (e.g. Coke). We performed multiple linear regression. Results: Regression analysis shows that 13.7% variance of children’s food consumption could be predicted by their parents’ gender, ethnicity, marital status, education and income (R2 =.137, p < 0.01). Parents’ ethnicity, education and income variables were strong predictors for children’s food consumption. Conclusion: Healthy eating can help reduce childhood obesity; however, we found children of US Hispanic parents ate less healthily. Culturally specific education programmes should be adopted for parents or families of Hispanic or Latino origin.

author list (cited authors)

  • Chen, X., Cisse-Egbuonye, N., Spears, E. C., Mkuu, R., & McKyer, E.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • January 2018