• Health behavior;
  • maternal–child health;
  • obesity

PROBLEM:  In an effort to better understand child obesity, this study examined the association between family living location, family function, mother's body mass index (BMI), and mothers' attitudes and behaviors concerning child feeding. Recent research on obesity has shown there is limited information on family influence and parental perceptions and attitudes.

METHODS:  A cross-sectional analysis was performed on data from 47 mothers of school-aged children.

FINDINGS:  Urban African-American mothers had higher BMIs and were significantly more concerned about their child's weight status than rural white mothers. Additionally, maternal BMI was associated with the total number of individuals in the household.

CONCLUSION:  Results suggest the importance in understanding the family and community and its influence on childhood obesity. Armed with knowledge about family factors and parents' beliefs and perceptions, nurses can develop interventions that can assist families and communities to focus on healthy children feeding and weight management.