A case study of grandparents’ attitudes and perceptions regarding healthy lifestyle behaviours in their young grandchildren

L K Bell, S Mortimer, L Matwiejczyk, R Perry, I Prichard, C Moores, K Mehta, M Miller

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Grandparents can have a significant influence on young children’s eating and activity
behaviour, particularly if they are the primary carers of young children. This case study aimed to
gain insight into the perspectives of custodial grandparents regarding the eating and activity
behaviour of their young grandchildren. Semi-structured interviews (30–60 min) were conducted
with custodial grandparents (n = 7), recruited through Grandparents for Grandchildren SA Inc. in
Adelaide. Interview questions aimed to determine grandparents’ beliefs, opinions, perceptions,
knowledge, and support around the healthy eating and physical activity behaviour of their
grandchild/ren aged 1–5 years. Interviews were coded in a four-phase process by three researchers
who met frequently to discuss and agree on coding and emerging themes. Thematic analysis revealed
four themes: (1) intergenerational differences in ‘parenting’ approach; (2) prioritisation of grandchildren’s health and environment; (3) strong health awareness, beliefs and rules; and (4) high
self-efficacy, low perceived requirement for support. These findings highlight that custodial
grandparents adopt a different parenting approach the ‘second time around’ due to previous
experience, have a perceived high level of knowledge, and a perceived high level of responsibility for
their grandchild’s wellbeing. Consequently, custodial grandparents are confident in their abilities
and have strong beliefs and practices regarding the promotion of a positive nutrition and activity
home environment. This case study suggests that support around young children’s eating and
activity behaviour is not desired, and perhaps not required, by this unique group of grandparents.
This is a complex psycho-social topic that warrants further investigation in a larger cross-section of
custodial grandparents.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2018
Event10th Asia Pacific Conference on Clinical Nutrition - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide , Australia
Duration: 26 Nov 201729 Nov 2017


Conference10th Asia Pacific Conference on Clinical Nutrition

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  • grandparent–grandchild relationship
  • nutrition
  • eating behaviour


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