Evaluating Latino WIC Mothers’ Perceptions of Infant’s Healthy Growth: A Formative Assessment

Angela C. Valencia, Cynthia A. Thomson, Burris Duncan, Andrew Arthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives This article reports on a formative assessment with Latino mothers in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) evaluating knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding healthy growth for infants and their understanding of infant growth monitoring. Further, we explored the acceptability and feasibility of mothers’ monitoring their infants’ growth. This assessment includes healthy growth perceptions from mothers, caregivers and from WIC staff. Methods Utilizing a mixed method approach, this assessment included qualitative focus groups with WIC mothers that included a growth chart plotting exercise and a quantitative survey. In-depth interviews with clinic staff discussing protocols used in assessing children’s growth were also conducted in one WIC clinic. Results Focus group participants included 34 mothers and 19 caregivers with a mean age of 32 years; 90 % identified as Latino. Themes included concern for underweight status, and reports of limited conversations between mothers and healthcare providers regarding overweight status, and infant feeding practices/beliefs that may contribute to feeding behaviors associated with risk for excess weight gain during infancy. Growth charts were well received, mothers were able to plot with modest accuracy; but effectiveness of growth plotting might be limited without refinement for health literacy and the provision of culturally-sensitive education in relation to feeding behaviors to support healthy infant growth. Conclusions This represents a first effort in evaluating Latino mothers’ perceptions of infants’ healthy growth and use growth charts as a potential tool that can help prevent excess weight gain in early infancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-533
Number of pages9
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Childhood obesity
  • Growth charts
  • Infant’s growth
  • Latino
  • Mexican American
  • Mothers
  • Perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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