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Matern Child Health J. 2017 Jul 13. doi: 10.1007/s10995-017-2340-x. [Epub ahead of print]

Perceptions and Practices Related to Obesity in Adolescent Students and Their Programmatic Implications: Qualitative Evidence from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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Department of Epidemiology, Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia.
Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia.


Background Prevalence of obesity in children in Ho Chi Minh City is rising in the last 10 years. We conducted a formative study to explore the perceptions and practices related to obesity, diet and physical activity among the students in two junior high schools in two suburbs in Ho Chi Minh City to aid in the design of an intervention in preventing obesity among adolescent school children. Method We conducted in-depth interviews with twenty participants including students, their parents, physical education teachers and a representative of the Department of Education. Manually coded and organized data were analysed applying a thematic analysis approach to divulge trends, diversities and similarities among the emerging themes. Results The study revealed diversified perceptions of obesity, diet and physical activity and their relationship with adolescent obesity. The findings indicated low practice of physical activity among almost all students who participated in the study. The major barriers to obesity prevention included knowledge gaps, food environment in the school, devaluation of physical activity and academic burden. Conclusion The findings provide contextual insights to design a culturally appropriate and feasible intervention to tackle child and adolescent obesity by harnessing the perspectives of the target populations.


Adolescent obesity; Perceptions; Physical activity; Qualitative method; Vietnam

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