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The use of behavioural change techniques in treatment of paediatric obesity : qualitive evaluation of parental perspectives on treatment

Stewart, L. and Chapple, J. and Hughes, Adrienne and Poustie, V. and Reilly, John J (2008) The use of behavioural change techniques in treatment of paediatric obesity : qualitive evaluation of parental perspectives on treatment. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 21 (5). pp. 464-473.

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Background Treatment for childhood obesity is characterized by nonattendance and widespread failure to achieve weight maintenance. The use of behavioural change methods is suggested for engaging families in changing lifestyles. Qualitative methods may improve understanding of patient perceptions, thus improving treatment. The present study aimed to explore the thoughts and feelings of parents whose children had undertaken dietetic consultations either employing behavioural change techniques or delivered by dietitians with no formal training in these techniques. The study used purposive sampling, interviewing 17 parents of children attending 6-month outpatient treatments for obesity (body mass index > 98th percentile). Parent’s perceptions of the dietetic treatment were explored by in-depth interviews and analysed using Framework methods. Results Parents who had taken part in the behavioural change techniques applauded the process, finding it child-friendly and talked of ‘forming a partnership’. Conversely, standard care treatment was less well received. Developing a rapport with the dietitian was significant for the parents in their perception of a positive experience. Conclusions The present study may help inform future treatments for childhood obesity by providing insights into the aspects of treatment and approaches applauded by parents. It highlights the possible value of use of behavioural change skills by dietitians to engage with families of obese children.