Hispanic Caregiver Perceptions of Water Intake Recommendations for Young Children and Their Current Beverage Feeding Practices

Maryann Mason*, Sarah B. Welch, Miguel Morales

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Hispanic children in the United States are at high risk of obesity. Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (SSB) is a modifiable contributor to obesity. Hispanic children are more likely to drink SSB than non-Hispanic white children. The main goal of the study was to explore caregiver beverage feeding behaviors and evaluate reactions to water intake recommendations for children birth to five years old in a diverse U.S. Hispanic urban community. Findings will be used to develop community- and population-specific intervention messaging for obesity prevention for this population. The study used a qualitative focus group design using constant comparison coding methods. Participants included 35 Hispanic caregivers of children aged 0–5 years living in a low-income, predominantly Hispanic community in Chicago, Illinois. We found young children in this community drink a variety of SSBs and caregivers choose beverages based on cost, availability, health, and behavioral concerns. Participants report altering beverages for a variety of reasons, family member disagreement regarding beverage feeding practices, and older family members’ influence on children’s preferences. Puerto Rican and Mexican American participants differed in the range of beverages provided, concerns regarding water intake, and beverage alteration and feeding practices. Caregivers universally believe the recommended water intake amount of four six-ounce servings daily for children is too high. Findings will inform message development to reduce SSB intake and increase water consumption among young children in this community. Messaging should be ethnic group specific, target all family members, build on current beverage alteration practices, and include nutrition information specific to young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 17 2015


  • children
  • family
  • health promotion
  • obesity prevention
  • sugar-sweetened beverages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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