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Clustering of attitudes towards obesity: a mixed methods study of Australian parents and children

Olds, Tim, Thomas, Samantha, Lewis, Sophie and Petkov, John 2013, Clustering of attitudes towards obesity: a mixed methods study of Australian parents and children, International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, vol. 10, pp. 1-11, doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-10-117.

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Title Clustering of attitudes towards obesity: a mixed methods study of Australian parents and children
Author(s) Olds, Tim
Thomas, SamanthaORCID iD for Thomas, Samantha orcid.org/0000-0003-1427-7775
Lewis, Sophie
Petkov, John
Journal name International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity
Volume number 10
Article ID 117
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2013
ISSN 1479-5868
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Nutrition & Dietetics
Physiology
Attitudes
Adults
Adolescents
Family
Social marketing
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
CHILDHOOD OVERWEIGHT
HEALTH
PREVENTION
BELIEFS
INTERVENTIONS
PREVALENCE
CAMPAIGNS
OPINION
SUPPORT
Summary BACKGROUND: Current population-based anti-obesity campaigns often target individuals based on either weight or socio-demographic characteristics, and give a 'mass' message about personal responsibility. There is a recognition that attempts to influence attitudes and opinions may be more effective if they resonate with the beliefs that different groups have about the causes of, and solutions for, obesity. Limited research has explored how attitudinal factors may inform the development of both upstream and downstream social marketing initiatives.

METHODS: Computer-assisted face-to-face interviews were conducted with 159 parents and 184 of their children (aged 9-18 years old) in two Australian states. A mixed methods approach was used to assess attitudes towards obesity, and elucidate why different groups held various attitudes towards obesity. Participants were quantitatively assessed on eight dimensions relating to the severity and extent, causes and responsibility, possible remedies, and messaging strategies. Cluster analysis was used to determine attitudinal clusters. Participants were also able to qualify each answer. Qualitative responses were analysed both within and across attitudinal clusters using a constant comparative method.

RESULTS: Three clusters were identified. Concerned Internalisers (27% of the sample) judged that obesity was a serious health problem, that Australia had among the highest levels of obesity in the world and that prevalence was rapidly increasing. They situated the causes and remedies for the obesity crisis in individual choices. Concerned Externalisers (38% of the sample) held similar views about the severity and extent of the obesity crisis. However, they saw responsibility and remedies as a societal rather than an individual issue. The final cluster, the Moderates, which contained significantly more children and males, believed that obesity was not such an important public health issue, and judged the extent of obesity to be less extreme than the other clusters.

CONCLUSION: Attitudinal clusters provide new information and insights which may be useful in tailoring anti-obesity social marketing initiatives.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/1479-5868-10-117
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30079464

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Health and Social Development
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.