Populations at Risk Across the Lifespan: Population Studies
A Focus Group Study of Mexican Immigrant Men's Perceptions of Weight and Lifestyle
Andrea Cherrington, Division of Preventive Medicine, 612 Medical Towers, 1717 11th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite interest in family-centered obesity and diabetes prevention programs for Latinos, few studies have assessed men's perspectives on obesity-related behaviors. The objective of this study was to explore Mexican immigrant men's perspectives regarding weight, diet, and physical activity as they relate to the individual and the family.
This was a focus group study with a convenience sample of Mexican immigrant men (n = 16).
A moderator's guide was used to elicit perceptions of personal and family behaviors influencing weight and lifestyle.
Mean age of participants was 41 years (SD ± 12.7), and 100% were born in Mexico. Mean time in Alabama was 8 years. Perceived benefits of a healthy weight included improved mobility and decreased morbidities. Perceived barriers to a healthy lifestyle included demanding work schedules and an environment not conducive to walking. Participants described immigration as having a negative impact on family unity and established meal structures.
Previous studies among Latinas cite husband resistance as a barrier to sustained diet and lifestyle change; however, men in this study voiced openness to programs for obesity and diabetes prevention. Future family centered programs should engage men and promote communication within the family on common goals related to health and illness prevention.