Elementary School Personnel's Perceptions on Childhood Obesity: Pervasiveness and Facilitating Factors Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Odum, M., McKyer, E., Tisone, C. A., & Outley, C. W.

citation count

  • 8

publication date

  • January 2013