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Fam Pract. 2012 Aug;29(4):476-81. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmr111. Epub 2011 Nov 24.

Parents' views and experiences of childhood obesity management in primary care: a qualitative study.

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  • 1Academic Unit of Primary Health Care, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol, UK.



Primary care has been viewed as an appropriate setting for childhood obesity management. Little is known about parents' views and experiences of obesity management within this clinical setting. These views and experiences need to be explored, as they could affect treatment success.


To explore parents' views and experiences of primary care as a treatment setting for childhood obesity.


In-depth interviews were held with 15 parents of obese children aged 5-10 years, to explore their views and experiences of primary care childhood obesity management. Parents were contacted via a hospital-based childhood obesity clinic, general practices and Mind, Exercise, Nutrition … Do it! (MEND) groups based in Bristol, England. The interviews were audio-taped transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.


Parents viewed primary care as an appropriate setting in which to treat childhood obesity but were reluctant to consult due to a fear of being blamed for their child's weight and a concern about their child's mental well-being. They also questioned whether practitioners had the knowledge, time and resources to effectively manage childhood obesity. Parents varied in the extent to which they had found consulting a practitioner helpful, and their accounts suggested that GPs and school nurses offer different types of support.


Parents need to be reassured that practitioners will address their child's weight in a non-judgemental sensitive manner and are able to treat childhood obesity effectively. A multidisciplinary team approach might benefit a child, as different practitioners may vary in the type of care they provide.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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