A Qualitative Study on Parenting Practices to Sustain Adolescent Health Behaviors in American Indian Families

Christine Hodgson, Dylan Decker, Teresia M. O'Connor, Melanie Hingle, Francine C. Gachupin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


American Indian (AI) adolescents who practice healthy behaviors of sleep, nutrition, physical activity, and limited screen time can lower their lifetime risk of diet-sensitive disease. Little is known about how AI parenting practices influence the health behaviors of youth. The objective of this qualitative study was to explore how a group of AI parents of youths at risk of disease influenced their youth's health behaviors after a family intervention. A secondary objective was to understand the role of AI parents in supporting and sustaining health behavior change in their youths following the intervention. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with AI parents (n = 11) and their young adolescents, 10-15 years old (n = 6). Parents reported facilitators to how they enacted healthy lifestyle behaviors, including family togetherness, routines, youth inclusion in cooking, and motivation due to a health condition in the family. Barriers to enacting healthy behaviors included a lack of time, a lack of access to health resources, negative role modeling, and the pervasiveness of screen media. Three major themes about the role of AI parenting emerged inductively from the interview data: "Parenting in nontraditional families", "Living in the American grab-and-go culture", and "Being there and teaching responsibility". The importance of culture in raising youths was emphasized. These findings inform strategies to promote long-term adherence to behavior changes within the intervention. This study contributes to public health conversations regarding approaches for AI youths and families, who are not well represented in previous health behavior research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 3 2023


  • American Indian
  • diabetes
  • disease prevention
  • health promotion
  • obesity
  • parenting
  • wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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