Introduction Childhood obesity represents a significant threat to the health and wellbeing of future generations of adults in the United Kingdom (UK). Certain ethnic minorities including those of South Asian origin experience notably higher rates of childhood obesity. As the primary care-providers in South Asian culture, mothers play a significant role in determining child health: improved understanding of perceptions regarding childhood obesity may therefore facilitate the development of targeted public health strategy. This study aimed to determine the views of South Asian mothers regarding childhood obesity.
Methods A purposive sampling strategy was used to identify mothers of children aged 3–11 years of South Asian origin attending a childrens’ day centre in Bradford, UK. Eligible mothers were consented for participation in semi-structured in-depth interviews regarding childhood obesity. Interviews were facilitated by an experienced qualitative researcher in the presence of a dedicated translator. All conversations were electronically recorded and independently reviewed for retrospective quality control. Thematic and content analysis was applied in order to generate coding themes for analysis in order to facilitate indexing and summarisation of key data.
Results A total of 14 mothers, aged 32.4 ± 6 years were interviewed. Thematic and content analysis generated four distinct themes: 1) perception of childhood obesity; 2) implications for long-term health; 3) awareness of preventative measures; and 4) barriers to prevention. Participants reported reasonable awareness of obesity as a risk factor for future health problems but knowledge of specific disease states was limited. Understanding of contributory risk factors including diet was high; however awareness of exercise as a preventative measure was poor with only 7% of participants reporting their children to be involved in regular exercise. Despite this finding, 50% felt that their children gained enough exercise. Knowledge of locally available interventions including healthy eating schemes and extra-curricular activities was highly variable with first-generation migrants displaying a complete lack of awareness.
Conclusions This study highlights a lack of awareness of preventative measures in addition to poor knowledge of available interventions. This suggests a need for promoting culturally sensitive obesity education and intervention planning in partnership with families of South Asian origin, especially amongst first–generation migrants.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.