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Webinar Recap: Studying Childhood Obesity in Latin America

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Historically, Latin American countries have had a troubled relationship with nutrition and food supply. For many years, hunger, malnutrition and its consequences have haunted each developing country’s mortality and quality of life. However, in the past years, we have seen radical shifts. While there has been a significant decrease in the disease’s characteristic of poverty and food shortage; there has also been an increase in obesity among adults and children.

We joined forces with Albar Research to conduct a blended Quantitative and Qualitative study to understand the issues related to childhood obesity. The sample for this study consisted of parents of young children and healthcare professionals involved in the care related to children’s weight, nutrition and risk factors. The research was structured to capture detailed insights from our respondents through their thoughts, opinions, and emotions.

Latin America countries have growing childhood obesity issues

In the past 20 years, child obesity in Brazil has had a growth of 120% – today, 30% of children in Brazil are overweight or obese. Mexico is already considered the #1 country in the world for child obesity with more than four million school children overweight or obese. One in six children in Columbia is obese or overweight.

The study was conducted to answer the following key questions:

  • What does a child’s diet look like?
  • What are the key factors of their current diet choice?
  • What do their parents consider their “ideal” diet?

Our research goals were ambitious. We chose to conduct the study in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia to get a broad perspective of different Latin American countries. We needed a comprehensive understanding of children’s diets, involving feedback from experts, parents and by going inside their homes and watching behaviors.

In order to complete this challenging investigation, the study was conducted in three research phases using different FocusVision platforms.

Conducting online live interviews with health care practitioners

In order to conduct interviews with these hard-to-reach physicians which were spread across the countries, we decided to do online live interviews via InterVu because of the advantages:

  • High quality webcam interviews
  • Possibility to have the analyzers watching privately
  • Chats availability (public and private)
  • Possibility to share the moderator screen to show stimulus
  • Lower costs
  • Possibility to do simultaneous interviews in the three countries

Online surveys to understand parents’ opinions of their children’s diets

The challenge was to engage parents to answer a 30-minute questionnaire. We chose to use Decipher’s dynamic question types and responsive design which allowed us to capture parents’ opinions in all countries.

online-surveys-parents-perceptions-of-childrens-diets

Online Bulletin Board to Uncover Daily Eating Habits

The research challenge was to engage families in a natural way in order to capture their day-to-day activities. Revelation tool has an activity engine which allows respondents to follow their activities progression, and easily record and upload photos and videos.

revelation-captures-childrens-lunches-in-latin-america

What Albar Research uncovered about childhood obesity in Latin America

In the in-depth interview phase with physicians, participants explained that Latin America’s history with hunger, malnutrition and its consequences makes the population see chubby as a sign of health. In fact, 70% of mothers perceive their obese children as chubby.

According to those same physicians, there is a set of causes for childhood obesity or overweight: parents’ bad eating habits, lack of information, lack of time to prepare meals, anxiety, parents’ guilt to spoil their children, media representation of poor food choices, and easy access to unhealthy options.

Teeming these interviews with our quantitative and qualitative phases of the study, we unpacked the answers to the original questions posed.

How are the children’s current diets?

Even though during breakfast, lunch and dinner most children eat what is considered to be healthy food, these children’s diets are also rich with sugary products, soft drinks and processed food.

What are the key factors for their current diet choice?

Parents say they prioritize what they think is healthy for their family, what they have in plan for the meals of the week/month, items they know that their family likes to eat, and according to their budget.

What do their parents consider the “ideal diet”?

The ideal diet is made of healthy items, but it also has to be tasty and visually attractive.

Interested in learning more? Watch the webinar in-full below.

 
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