Obstacles to the prevention of overweight and obesity in the context of child health care in Sweden

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Abstract

Background: Overweight and obesity in younger children could better be brought in focus through a deeper understanding of how Child Health Care nurses (CHC-nurses) perceive their work with the problems of overweight at the CHC Centers. The aim of this study was to elucidate the CHC-nurses conceptions of their preventive work with childhood overweight and obesity in Child Health Care. Method: A qualitative study, based on open-ended interviews, involving 18 CHC-nurses strategically selected from 17 CHC Centres in the southern part of Sweden using a phenomenographic approach. Results: Two categories of description emerged from the data: (i) Internal obstacles to the CHC- nurses' work with overweight in children and (ii) External obstacles to the management of overweight in children. The CHC-nurses conceived their work with overweight in Child Health Care to be complicated and constrained by several obstacles depending on the nurses' personal priorities, knowledge, responsibility and the absence of resources and cooperation, as well as the lack of uniform guidelines for preventing and managing childhood overweight and further a deficient management organisation. Conclusion: Nurses' attention to monitoring overweight in children, and their initiative for prevention, is based on their conceptions of the obstacles that hinder them in their efforts. An increased awareness of the CHC-nurses conceptions of the priorities, their sense of responsibility and prevention practices is warranted. If measures in this direction are not taken there is a growing risk that overweight children will pass through the CHC without any formal recognition of their situation. There is an indication that the present level of the CHC-nurses' preventive work with childhood overweight has room for improvement in several areas. It is suggested that the specialist education of these health care professionals should be supplemented and that organisation of the management of childhood overweight should be also revised at the primary health care level.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy

Keywords

  • Child, Nurses, Obesity, Overweight, Perceptions, Preventive work, Primary care, Qualitative research
Original languageEnglish
Article number143
JournalBMC Family Practice
Volume14
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: The Vårdal Institute (016540000), Preventive Paediatrics (013243030), Child, Family and Reproductive Health (013220003)

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