Meanings and Strategies for Good Health: The Perspectives of Latina Immigrant Mothers in Rural Iowa
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Limited research has examined the variety of strategies Latino immigrants, especially those living in rural communities, use to maintain or improve their health. This study identified Latina immigrant mothers? conceptualizations of good health and their strategies to maintain or improve their health. Data from 19 semi-structured interviews with Latina immigrant mothers living in a rural Midwestern community were coded and analyzed using qualitative methods. Results reveal that mothers define being healthy as the absence of illness (i.e., "not being sick") and interpreted health in terms of being physically, mentally, and emotionally well. Mothers identified four primary strategies they implement to maintain or improve their health a) eating healthy food, b) participating in moderate and vigorous physical activities, c) monitoring intake of unhealthy foods, and d) visiting the doctor for preventative care (e.g., checkups). Religious beliefs were also noted as sources of strength to tackle their emotional problems. Understanding how Latina immigrant mothers perceive "being healthy" and perceive the status of their own health, as well as being knowledgeable of the strategies they employ to maintain or improve their health, can assist researchers and practitioners interested in improving health outcomes among Latino immigrant families.