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Using formative research to develop the healthy eating component of the CHANGE! school-based curriculum intervention

Boddy, LM and Knowles, ZR and Davies, IG and Warburton, GL and Mackintosh, KA and Houghton, L and Fairclough, SJ (2012) Using formative research to develop the healthy eating component of the CHANGE! school-based curriculum intervention. BMC PUBLIC HEALTH, 12 (1). ISSN 1471-2458

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Abstract

Background: Childhood obesity is a significant public health concern. Many intervention studies have attempted
to combat childhood obesity, often in the absence of formative or preparatory work. This study describes the
healthy eating component of the formative phase of the Children’s Health Activity and Nutrition: Get Educated!
(CHANGE!) project. The aim of the present study was to gather qualitative focus group and interview data
regarding healthy eating particularly in relation to enabling and influencing factors, barriers and knowledge in
children and adults (parents and teachers) from schools within the CHANGE! programme to provide populationspecific
evidence to inform the subsequent intervention design.
Methods: Semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with children, parents and teachers across 11
primary schools in the Wigan borough of North West England. Sixty children (N = 24 boys), 33 parents (N = 4 male)
and 10 teachers (N = 4 male) participated in the study. Interview questions were structured around the PRECEDE
phases of the PRECEDE-PROCEED model. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using the pen-profiling
technique.
Results: The pen-profiles revealed that children’s knowledge of healthy eating was generally good, specifically
many children were aware that fruit and vegetable consumption was ‘healthy’ (N = 46). Adults’ knowledge was also
good, including restricting fatty foods, promoting fruit and vegetable intake, and maintaining a balanced diet. The
important role parents play in children’s eating behaviours and food intake was evident. The emerging themes
relating to barriers to healthy eating showed that external drivers such as advertising, the preferred sensory
experience of “unhealthy” foods, and food being used as a reward may play a role in preventing healthy eating.
Conclusions: Data suggest that; knowledge related to diet composition was not a barrier per se to healthy eating,
and education showing how to translate knowledge into behavior or action is required. The key themes that
emerged through the focus groups and pen-profiling data analysis technique will be used to inform and tailor the
healthy eating component of the CHANGE! intervention study.
Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN03863885
Keywords: Nutrition, Childhood obesity, Pen-profiles, Health, Schools

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1117 Public Health And Health Services
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: BIOMED CENTRAL LTD
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 14 May 2015 10:19
Last Modified: 14 May 2015 10:19
DOI or Identification number: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-710
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/872

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