Individual, Family, and Community Education ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-11-2020


Children 2-5 years of age can be vulnerable to being underweight due to characteristics like selective eating. As a result, children may not be consuming essential nutrients from balanced meals and may have a reduction in the variety of foods they eat. Medical nutritional supplements are often recommended by healthcare professionals including physicians and registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs). Parents/caregivers may not research how the medical nutritional supplement benefits their child’s health and may not comprehend the meaning of the words “healthy growth”. This study investigated the attitudes and the perceptions of caregivers of children 2-5 years of age toward liquid nutritional supplements prescribed for weight gain by a healthcare professional for their child. Caregivers whose children were enrolled in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in the State of New Mexico and were prescribed Pediasure were recruited and a total of 17 surveys were collected. The majority of participants selected Hispanic or Latino as their race/ethnicity (n=9; 53%) and most participants learned about the medical nutritional supplement through their child’s pediatrician (n=9; 53%). Hispanics and Whites were more confident that their child’s health had improved because of the medical nutritional supplement than other race/ethnicities. (P=0.03). Further qualitative research should be done to investigate differences in perceptions towards liquid supplements by race/ethnicity.


Supplements, Toddler, Caregivers, Underweight, Liquid supplements, Pediatrician, Nutrition, Picky Eating

Document Type




Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Individual, Family, and Community Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Kathryn Coakley

Second Committee Member

Deborah Cohen

Third Committee Member

Diana Gonzales-Pacheco

Fourth Committee Member

Deborah Luffey