Early years' prevention of childhood obesity: the challenges facing UK health visitors

Redsell, Sarah A. and Atkinson, Philippa and Nathan, Dilip and Siriwardena, A. Niroshan and Swift, Judy A. and Glazebrook, Cris (2011) Early years' prevention of childhood obesity: the challenges facing UK health visitors. In: International Conferences in Community Health Nursing Research Biennial Symposium, 4th-6th May 2011, Edmonton, Canada. (Unpublished)

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Early years' prevention of childhood obesity: the challenges facing UK health visitors
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Abstract

Objectives A number of modifiable risk factors are associated with the development of childhood obesity. These are lower breast feeding duration, early weaning onto solid foods, parental response to infant temperament and parental control over food intake. This study explored parents’ beliefs concerning their infant’s size and growth and their receptiveness to intervention aimed at reducing the risk of childhood obesity.
Method Six focus groups were undertaken in a range of different demographic areas, with parents of infants less than one year old. The focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and subjected to thematic analysis using an interpretative, inductive approach.
Results 38 parents (n=36 female, n=2 male), age range 19-45 years (mean 30.1 years, SD 6.28) participated in the focus groups. Half the sample were overweight (n=12) or obese (n=8). Five main themes were identified. These were a) rationalisation for infant’s larger size, b) parents’ understanding of breastfed infants’ growth and age-related behaviour; c) parents’ understanding of infant growth, developmental norms and feeding practices, d) belief that nothing can be done about overweight/obese infants and e) intentions and behaviour in relation to a healthy diet.
Conclusions Some risk factors for childhood obesity are potentially modifiable. Parents are receptive to prevention prior to weaning and need better support with best practice in infant feeding. This should focus on helping them understand the physiology of breast feeding, the rationale around weaning at 6 months and how to recognise that hunger is only one explanation for infant distress and behaviour change.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Additional Information:Objectives A number of modifiable risk factors are associated with the development of childhood obesity. These are lower breast feeding duration, early weaning onto solid foods, parental response to infant temperament and parental control over food intake. This study explored parents’ beliefs concerning their infant’s size and growth and their receptiveness to intervention aimed at reducing the risk of childhood obesity. Method Six focus groups were undertaken in a range of different demographic areas, with parents of infants less than one year old. The focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and subjected to thematic analysis using an interpretative, inductive approach. Results 38 parents (n=36 female, n=2 male), age range 19-45 years (mean 30.1 years, SD 6.28) participated in the focus groups. Half the sample were overweight (n=12) or obese (n=8). Five main themes were identified. These were a) rationalisation for infant’s larger size, b) parents’ understanding of breastfed infants’ growth and age-related behaviour; c) parents’ understanding of infant growth, developmental norms and feeding practices, d) belief that nothing can be done about overweight/obese infants and e) intentions and behaviour in relation to a healthy diet. Conclusions Some risk factors for childhood obesity are potentially modifiable. Parents are receptive to prevention prior to weaning and need better support with best practice in infant feeding. This should focus on helping them understand the physiology of breast feeding, the rationale around weaning at 6 months and how to recognise that hunger is only one explanation for infant distress and behaviour change.
Keywords:childhood obesity, prevention, infant feeding, focus groups, perception, risk factors, beliefs, attitudes, parental
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B712 Health Visiting
A Medicine and Dentistry > A300 Clinical Medicine
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
ID Code:6150
Deposited By: Niro Siriwardena
Deposited On:15 Sep 2012 14:48
Last Modified:15 Sep 2012 14:48

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