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Title: Managing overweight : children's stories of their journey through treatment and beyond
Author: Watson, Libby
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 8885
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2011
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This study explored young people's experiences of attending a childhood obesity programme - how they recounted their 'journey' in managing their weight from pre-treatment, through to at least a year since its completion. Childhood obesity has risen dramatically and is associated with physical and psychological health problems. Despite promising outcomes of childhood obesity programmes in reducing overweight and improving self-esteem, there are notable gaps in the literature. There is little insight into children's lived experiences of both receiving treatment and managing their weight once treatment has ended. This is of particular concern considering the ubiquity of relapse rates and the dearth of research into weight-management during adolescence - when independent choice, peer influences, and the potential for problematic eating behaviours increase. Semi-structured interviews of fourteen young people were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, which provided scope to capture and contextualise the richness and complexity of their experiences. Three analytic themes are presented: 'fun'; 'the power and influence of others', and 'the changed self. Children experienced a sense of 'flow' as they engaged in activities during the programme, detracting from negative feelings. Throughout all stages of participants' 'journey', family members and peers were facilitating or constraining figures in their healthy lifestyle endeavours. Participants described changing - they learnt things, noticed physical changes, and felt better about themselves. Changes were commonly related to their time during treatment. Whilst many spoke of maintaining changes, participants also recounted forgetting what they had learnt and 'slipping back' into unhealthy habits. Participants also described being 'changed' by external factors, such as routine changes, life events, and 'growing up'. Practice implications include the benefit of 'booster' sessions and post-programme support. For participants, weight loss was not always the most important outcome; research and action should question assumptions of what is 'important', and which level interventions are best placed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available