Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Christopher Jones


United States' policy makers have been challenged creating understandable nutrition labels and effective healthy food campaigns for consumers of mixed heritage. Previous studies explored the sociocultural factors that influence Hispanics' abilities to navigate consumer food education programs, but little was known about how Mexican culture impacts those programs. The purpose of this study was to better understand those factors. Research questions focused on the experiences of residents of a west Texas town regarding their food decision-making process about food choices and their understanding of food education information. The purpose of this phenomenological research was to explore how Mexican culture effected navigation through these programs. I used the theory of dietary acculturation, environmental theory, and advocacy coalition framework as the lenses to view this phenomenon. Data were generated from 9 interviews with primary decision makers concerning food choices for their households. Interview data were open coded to obtain themes suggested by study participants. Results indicated that participants considered healthy food and used varying approaches when selecting healthy food. Family time was an important factor in food choice. Healthy foods messages came from personal physicians, local marketing, and government agencies. The quality and cost of American products were often a consideration. Participants indicated that access to current health information and Mexican food products are integral to making future healthy food choices. The implications for positive social change may include raising awareness among state and federal policy makers of the factors influencing healthy food choices in effective nutrition labeling and healthy food education programs.