This qualitative, descriptive study first explored parents' concept of health and then examined the health practices they undertook for their preschool-aged children. The purposive sample of 11 parent couples and 3 single parents (14 parent sets in total) with preschool-aged children attending long daycare and preschool/kindergarten centers was equally distributed between parents from two different socioeconomic groups in two suburbs of western Sydney, Australia. Consenting parents were interviewed and transcripts were analyzed concurrently in accordance with a grounded theory approach (Glaser Strauss, 1967). Results revealed the presence of three themes, and practice implications for community nurses stem from them. These themes were Educating About Family Health, The Dynamic, Multidimensional Nature of Teaching Child Health Behavior, and The Intergenerational Theme. There was only minimal support for health-related socioeconomic differences. The study also found that most families with preschool-aged children were engaged in illness prevention rather than health promotion. Unlike those families focused on illness prevention, families focused on a health promotion mode were more sophisticated in their educational strategies and used more educational strategies associated with developing their child's health behaviors. This research validated the importance of the intergenerational transmission of values, particularly by mothers. The health behaviors that mothers considered important, and that they reinforced with their children, were transmitted equally to their daughters and sons.
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