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Title: Obesity monitoring in schools
Author: McHardy, Karina Mariya
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Background: Population level child measurement is an established international practice. However, there is limited clarity around the protocol and roles of school-based child measurement programmes (CMPs). Furthermore, questions remain about the positive and adverse outcomes associated with CMPs, as well as their longer-term sustainability. This research contributes new information by addressing these key unanswered questions. Methods: This thesis describes a three-part, mixed methods research project incorporating: a systematic literature review of existing CMPs; an in-depth case study of England’s National Child Measurement Programme; and the development, pilot implementation and evaluation of a CMP in Guernsey. This research was conducted sequentially; individual components informed and guided subsequent work. Results: Routine child measurement is a popular, complex and adaptive practice and offers significant epidemiological value. The principal roles of CMPs are delivery of local prevalence data and assessment of longitudinal trends. However, CMPs are often tasked with additional, diverse and changing roles that do not translate to acknowledged outcomes. Specifically, feedback of individual results represents an unproven programme element. Programme roles can evolve according to political, logistical, or other influences, without consideration of available evidence or wider-reaching implications. There is no evidence of short-term harm from CMPs. Evaluation of the pilot CMP in Guernsey demonstrated that these programmes are perceived to be feasible, acceptable and sustainable. Conclusions: To maximise the broader utility of CMPs, there should be clarity and consistency around their aims, roles and outcomes. Overall, surveillance reflects the preferred programme type. All CMPs should incorporate a standardised, rigorously applied protocol and routine evaluation. These features are essential to ensure the accuracy and comparability of resultant data, as well as programme credibility. Population level CMPs should not function in isolation; instead, they should be integrated into comprehensive strategies for obesity management. This research has important implications for CMP stakeholders and the wider public health arena.
Supervisor: Foster, Charles Sponsor: Wolfson College ; Clarendon Fund ; Oxfordshire Health Authority Department of Public Health
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical Sciences ; Childhood obesity ; monitoring and surveillance ; measurement ; weight status ; public health