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A qualitative study of primary care clinicians' views of treating childhood obesity

Walker, O., Strong, M., Atchinson, R., Saunders, J. and Abbott, J. (2007) A qualitative study of primary care clinicians' views of treating childhood obesity. BMC Family Practice, 8. Art no.50. ISSN 1471-2296


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Background: The prevalence of childhood obesity is rising and the UK Government have stated a commitment to addressing obesity in general. One method has been to include indicators relating to obesity within the GP pay-for-performance Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) contract. This study aimed to explore general practitioners' and practice nurses' views in relation to their role in treating childhood obesity.

Methods: We interviewed eighteen practitioners (twelve GPs and six nurses) who worked in general practices contracting with Rotherham Primary Care Trust. Interviews were face to face and semi structured. The transcribed data were analysed using framework analysis.

Results: GPs and practice nurses felt that their role was to raise the issue of a child's weight, but that ultimately obesity was a social and family problem. Time constraint, lack of training and lack of resources were identified as important barriers to addressing childhood obesity. There was concern that the clinician-patient relationship could be adversely affected by discussing what was often seen as a sensitive topic. GPs and practice nurses felt ill-equipped to tackle childhood obesity given the lack of evidence for effective interventions, and were sceptical that providing diet and exercise advice would have any impact upon a child's weight.

Conclusion: GPs and practice nurses felt that their role in obesity management was centred upon raising the issue of a child's weight, and providing basic diet and exercise advice. Clinicians may find it difficult to make a significant impact on childhood obesity while the evidence base for effective management remains poor. Until the lack of effective interventions is addressed, implementing additional targets (for example through the QOF) may not be effective.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2007 Walker et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited..
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Health and Related Research (Sheffield) > Section of Public Health (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Medicine (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Sherpa Assistant
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2007 17:29
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 22:56
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2296-8-50
Status: Published
Publisher: Biomed Central Ltd
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1186/1471-2296-8-50
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3504

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