Healthy eating, activity and obesity prevention: a qualitive study of parent and child perceptions in Australia

Hesketh, Kylie, Waters, Elizabeth, Green, J., Salmon, L. and Williams, J. 2005, Healthy eating, activity and obesity prevention: a qualitive study of parent and child perceptions in Australia, Health promotion international, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 19-26, doi: 10.1093/heapro/dah503.

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Title Healthy eating, activity and obesity prevention: a qualitive study of parent and child perceptions in Australia
Author(s) Hesketh, KylieORCID iD for Hesketh, Kylie
Waters, Elizabeth
Green, J.
Salmon, L.
Williams, J.ORCID iD for Williams, J.
Journal name Health promotion international
Volume number 20
Issue number 1
Start page 19
End page 26
Publisher Oxford Journals
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2005
ISSN 0957-4824
Keyword(s) diet
physical activity
Summary Preventative health strategies incorporating the views of target participants have improved the likelihood of success. This qualitative study aimed to elicit child and parent views regarding social and environmental barriers to healthy eating, physical activity and child obesity prevention programmes, acceptable foci, and appropriate modes of delivery. To obtain views across a range of social circumstances three demographically diverse primary schools in Victoria, Australia were selected. Children in Grades 2 (aged 7–8 years) and 5 (aged 10–11 years) participated in focus groups of three to six children. Groups were semi-structured using photo-based activities to initiate discussion. Focus groups with established parent groups were also conducted. Comments were recorded, collated, and themes extracted using grounded theory. 119 children and 17 parents participated. Nine themes emerged: information and awareness, contradiction between knowledge and behaviour, lifestyle balance, local environment, barriers to a healthy lifestyle, contradictory messages, myths, roles of the school and family, and timing and content of prevention strategies for childhood obesity. In conclusion, awareness of food ‘healthiness’ was high however perceptions of the ‘healthiness’ of some sedentary activities that are otherwise of benefit (e.g. reading) were uncertain. The contradictions in messages children receive were reported to be a barrier to a healthy lifestyle. Parent recommendations regarding the timing and content of childhood obesity prevention strategies were consistent with quantitative research. Contradictions in the explicit and implicit messages children receive around diet and physical activity need to be prevented. Consistent promotion of healthy food and activity choices across settings is core to population prevention programmes for childhood obesity.

Notes Published online on January 24, 2005
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/heapro/dah503
Field of Research 111712 Health Promotion
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005 The Author
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