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Curtin University
Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health

A Cohort Study of Health Beliefs, Behaviour and Information Sources of Chinese Mothers and Their Children Living in Perth (2010-2013)


Chief Investigators:

Project Manager/PhD Candidate:

  • Ms Shu Chen (WACHPR, Curtin University)


  • China Scholarship Council-Curtin Scholarship

Project Aim and Objectives

This study will aim to identify influences on Chinese mothers’ health information sources, beliefs and attitudes towards infant and child nutrition, physical activity, body shape and health behaviours and on the ways these influence the health services used and health promoting activities of their children.

The objectives of this study are:

  • To describe the incidence of illness, including minor illnesses, in Chinese children living in Perth.
  • To identify the prevalence of overweight/obesity in the study cohort (mothers and children) compared to Chinese and Australian national data.
  • To describe sources of information used by Chinese mothers about health, child nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
  • To evaluate perceptions about breastfeeding, infant feeding and child obesity among Chinese mothers living in Perth.
  • To identify factors that influence health care received by children in the cohort
  • To identify factors that influence the health literacy of Chinese mothers living in Perth, including sources of information that are culturally relevant.
  • To examine the association between mother’s information sources and mother’s nutrition knowledge and the children’s level of physical activity.
  • To evaluate parental influences on children’s eating patterns, levels of physical activity and nutritional status.

Project Overview

A longitudinal cohort study will be undertaken in Perth of Chinese mothers (self-identified) who have at least one pre-school child aged 1 to 5 years. Participants will be recruited from the Perth Chinese community, including Chinese schools and community organisations.

Data collection methods will include questionnaires (self reported and interviews), mobile phone text message questions and anthropometric measurements. Focus group interviews will be carried out before the main study to ensure that the study design, follow up methodology and questionnaires are culturally appropriate. Each group will contain 8-12 Chinese mothers with children aged 1-5 years. 

Projected Key Outcomes

This study will identify the cultural values concerning nutrition, and health of the Chinese community living in Australia and on the ways these influence the health services used and health promoting activities of their children. It will help to provide advice on promoting healthy behaviours to Chinese children and plan better health programs for the Chinese community living in Australia.

Potential papers from this study will include:

  • Parental factors affecting physical activity, nutrition and body image of Chinese children in Perth.
  • Sociological factors affecting Chinese mothers’ perception about breastfeeding, nutrition, child’s physical activity and body image.
  • Chinese mothers' management of childhood diseases: the influence of cultural beliefs.
  • Association of Chinese mothers’ health information sources with their nutrition knowledge and physical activity.
  • Factors that influence health literacy within a western context and information sources that are culturally consistent of Chinese mothers living in Perth.
  • The relevance of the health belief model to analyse the factors affecting Chinese mothers’ health behaviours regarding their children’s health.

Current Project Status

This project is now ongoing. 40 Chinese mothers have been interviewed and 105 mothers recruited. It is expected that the recruitment of sample and baseline data collection will be completed by July 2011.