Resignation, goal orientation and cultural essentialism in practitioners’ approaches to childhood overweight

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningfagfællebedømt

Childhood obesity has been an increasing problem in the Western world during the second half of the 20th Century and poses a great public health challenge with no signs of reversal. The highest rates of overweight are to be found among groups with low socio-economic status and among immigrant populations from non-Western countries. Most research on interventions to counter early overweight has focused on parents’ role, and little knowledge exists on how health care professionals approach the problem and the families involved. The purpose of this study is to explore these perspectives and analyze how approaches might affect treatment, especially of underprivileged, high-risk groups among pre-school children.

This study is based on qualitative research interviews with 20 Danish health care professionals, working with interventions targeted overweight pre-school children. Field work was exploratory and a grounded theory approach was adopted. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Audio and transcripts has been compared to ensure the quality. The first phase of the data analysis was exploratory as well and topics appearing in interviews structured a preliminary analysis. Afterwards all interviews were coded in NVivo by nodes defined by the initial results to secure validity and reliability.

The findings suggest that professionals’ understandings of early overweight are shaped by a shared discourse on appropriate parenting (echoing the scientific model of parenting styles): Parents to overweight pre-school children are seen as incapable to act demanding. Parental incapability was perceived to be greatest among ethnic minorities and the discourse of parenting was entangled with a cultural essentialism. Culture was seen as a barrier for change, and this created a reluctance to start interventions. Cultural essentialism was for some professionals combined with a Sociological resignation: A strong sense of the hardships related to migration and underprivileged status, seemed to create a sense of powerlessness among professionals.
Publikationsdato5 jun. 2015
StatusUdgivet - 5 jun. 2015
BegivenhedISBNPA Conference 2015: International Soceity for Bahvioural Nutrition and Physical Activity - Edinburgh, Storbritannien
Varighed: 3 jun. 20157 nov. 2015


KonferenceISBNPA Conference 2015

ID: 148182980