Understanding paediatric patients’ attitudes toward obesity and expectations prior to entering a weight management program
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Objective: This qualitative study explored attitudes toward weight management and knowledge of healthy, active living among paediatric patients referred to a weight management program. The objective of this study was to determine the emotional state and attitudes of patients entering into a paediatric weight management program. Methods: Study participants (aged 7 to 17 years old) were recruited during clinic orientation. Semistructured interviews were conducted, audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative content analysis generated a thematic coding scheme, identifying concepts and linkages in the data. Study rigour was achieved collaboratively through an audit trail, and data triangulation. Results: Fifteen patients (median age 11 years) consented to interviews. Three recurring themes emerged: emotions, motivation and learning. A total of nine subthemes were identified. Four key spheres of influence (family, peers, school and health care providers) affected the patient's outlook on obesity positively by providing support or negatively by adversely influencing their emotions and motivation. The level of individual motivation to engage in the weight management program varied. A positive outlook toward learning about obesity from school officials and health care providers emerged. Conclusions: This study provided insight regarding paediatric attitudes related to entering a weight management program. The negative emotional state and sometimes fear of the program expressed should be considered by the referring physician and by clinicians in weight management programs engaging in their care.
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