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Exploring how Brazilian immigrant mothers living in the USA obtain information about physical activity and screen time for their preschool-aged children: a qualitative study
  1. Ana Cristina Lindsay1,2,
  2. Carlos André Moura Arruda3,
  3. Márcia Maria Tavares Machado3,
  4. Gabriela Pereira De Andrade1,
  5. Mary L Greaney4
  1. 1 Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2 Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3 Department of Community Health, School of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil
  4. 4 Health Studies and Department of Kinesiology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ana Cristina Lindsay; Ana.Lindsay{at}


Objective To explore how Brazilian-born immigrant mothers living in the USA obtain information about physical activity (PA) and screen time (ST) behaviours for their preschool-aged children.

Research design Focus group discussions (FGDs) were used to gain an in-depth understanding of research topics. All FGDs were audio-recorded and professionally transcribed verbatim. The Portuguese transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis, an iterative process of coding the data in phases to create meaningful patterns.

Participants Thirty-seven Brazilian-born immigrant mothers of preschool-age children.

Setting This study was conducted in two cities in Massachusetts (MA). Participants were recruited from two predominantly Brazilian churches, local Brazilian businesses and community-based social and health services organisations in the Greater Boston area in MA.

Results Analyses revealed that the mothers participating in this study did not initially actively seek out information about PA and ST for their preschool-age children, but that they received unsolicited information about these behaviours from multiple sources including their child’s paediatrician, Women, Infant and Children (WIC) programme staff, members of their social network of Brazilian friends and the Brazilian media. Mothers reported that this unsolicited information increased their knowledge about the importance of making sure their children were physically active and not participating in excessive ST. This increased awareness led mothers to actively seek information about PA and ST behaviours via the internet and through interpersonal communication with fellow Brazilian friends and family.

Conclusions Given the value Brazilian immigrant mothers placed on the advice of their paediatricians and WIC staff, interventions should consider involving these healthcare professionals, possibly through including endorsement (eg, prescription for PA and maximum ST). More research is needed to ensure Brazilian immigrant mothers’ health and media literacy including their ability to navigate the online environment and to discern the accuracy and quality of information from various web sites.

  • brazilian
  • immigrant
  • information
  • physical activity
  • screen time

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  • Contributors ACL participated in study design, data collection, data analysis and manuscript preparation and review. CAMA participated in qualitative data analysis, manuscript preparation and manuscript review. MMTM participated in manuscript preparation and review. GPDA participated in data collection and manuscript preparation and manuscript review. MLG participated in study design, manuscript preparation and manuscript review.

  • Funding This study was supported by a grant from the Aetna Foundation Inc. (Grant no. 11-02395), for which Ana Cristina Lindsay, DDS, MPH, Dr.PH is principal investigator.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data and all other materials for this study are kept at the Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Boston. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due the terms of consent to which participants agreed to, but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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