General practice views of managing childhood obesity in primary care: a qualitative analysis: managing childhood obesity in primary care

Jennifer O'Donnell, Rachel Foskett-Tharby, Paramjit Gill

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Abstract

Objective: To explore general practice staff views of managing childhood obesity in primary care.

Design: A qualitative study to elicit the views of clinical and non-clinical general practice staff on managing childhood obesity.

Setting: Interviews were conducted at 30 general practices across England. These practices were interviewed as part of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) Pilot Study.

Participants: A total of 52 staff from 30 practices took part in a semi structured interview.

Main outcome measures: Key themes were identified through thematic analysis of transcripts using an inductive approach.

Results: Three themes were identified: lack of contact with well children, sensitivity of the issue, and the potential impact of general practice. Identifying overweight children was challenging because well children rarely attended the practice. Interviewees felt ill equipped to solve the issue because they lacked influence over the environmental, economic and lifestyle factors underpinning obesity. They described little evidence to support general practice intervention and seemed unaware of other services. Raising the issue was described as sensitive.

Conclusion: General practice staff were unconvinced they could have a significant role in managing childhood obesity on a large scale. Participants believed schools have more contact with children and should coordinate the identification and management of overweight children. Future policy could recommend a minor role for general practice involving opportunistically identifying overweight children and signposting to obesity services.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open
Early online date5 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Primary health care
  • general practitioner
  • family practice
  • qualitative research
  • adolescence
  • obesity

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