Factors influencing food preparation behaviours: Findings from focus groups with Mexican-American mothers in southern California

Teresa M. Smith, Genevieve F. Dunton, Courtney A. Pinard, Amy L. Yaroch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective The purpose of the present study was to explore food preparation behaviours, attitudes, meal planning and shopping among Mexican-American mothers. Design Data were collected through four focus groups with mothers of Mexican origin/ancestry who considered themselves to be the primary food preparer. Topics included food preparation behaviours and influencers (culture, family, attitudes, barriers, meal planning and shopping). Data were analysed using a qualitative grounded theory approach. All focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and coded for themes. Setting Data were collected in southern California, USA in 2013. Subjects Of the sample of twenty-one Mexican-American mothers, thirteen were born outside the USA and the mean household size was five members. Results Participants reported that food was often prepared using traditional staples and food preparation behaviours were learned from maternal family members. Participants also suggested that health was influenced by foods eaten and how they were prepared. Salient factors influencing food preparation behaviours included culture and tradition, maternal family members' food preparation behaviours, food preparation self-efficacy and attitudes towards healthy eating. Time and busy schedules were cited as barriers. Conclusions Future interventions should consider utilizing family-based approaches and teaching culturally relevant food preparation skills, especially to youth, while reinforcing more healthful dietary practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-850
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Food preparation
  • Hispanic
  • Home food environment
  • Mexican American

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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