Elementary School Personnel's Perceptions on Childhood Obesity: Pervasiveness and Facilitating Factors
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BACKGROUND: Researchers in numerous disciplines have investigated the effects of the school environment on childhood obesity (CHO), one of the greatest current health concerns in the United States. There is a gap in current empirical evidence, however, on school personnel's perspectives of this issue. This study examined school personnel's perceptions of obesity as a problem among school-aged children and their views on factors contributing to obesity. METHODS: Thirty-one semistructured interviews were conducted with elementary school personnel (teachers, administrators, and support staff) from 5 rural schools with a predominantly Hispanic (58.18%) and Black (30.24%) student population. The constant comparison method was used to identify emergent themes. RESULTS: All but one participant considered obesity to be a problem among elementary children. Factors facilitating obesity most frequently cited by school personnel were home environment, poor nutrition, child control of dietary choices, child inactivity, and entertainment electronics. CONCLUSIONS: Child control of dietary choices in both home and school environments was identified as a major contributor to obesity. Further exploration of this control is warranted to understand the complexity of this dynamic and its potential link to CHO.
author list (cited authors)
Odum, M., McKyer, E., Tisone, C. A., & Outley, C. W.