• Ayse Döner
  • Tuba Subasi
4. term, Public Health, Master (Master Programme)
Background: The prevalence of childhood obesity is rising significantly both internationally and nationally, which The World Health Organization (WHO) calls an epidemic where the reason for childhood obesity may - among others - be exercise habits and diets. Nationally, every eighth child is obese when starting to school, and 40% of primary schools children who is obese is at a risk of being obese as a grown up. Register study has shown that the higher level of cultural capital (resources) the parents have, the lower Body Mass Index (BMI) the children have. In addition, the study has shown that children whose parents has a low BMI are more likely to develop obesity, since the parents' lifestyle regarding exercise habits and diet is closely related to the children's.

Aim: To investigate and develop, based on evidence and experiences from primary school children's parents, so a change in social inequality in childhood obesity is achieved. Also to investigate how this information can form the basis for a decision basis on the forward-looking initiatives in Denmark.

Method: The overall design that is used is mixed method, which contains three sub studies; register study, semi-structured research interviews and literature study. Through the register study, it is examined whether there is a link between the parents’ capitals and the children's BMI. Based on the register study and Pierre Bourdieu's theory, an interview guide for further investigation of the problem area is developed. Six parents have completed the semi-structured interviews, in which the parents were recruited from Jylland and Sjælland. The survey has been supplemented by a literature study where scientific and evidence-based knowledge was obtained.

Results: The semi-structured interviews show that parents with different amount of capitals have different opinions about health, diet, exercise, and experience different barriers and opportunities regarding the establishment of healthy lifestyle and prevention of childhood obesity. The majority of parents have a clear position that the school as a field has a major impact on children’s health, and the interventions in schools can affect the child's approach to diet, exercise and knowledge about health. The found literature notes that the most effective approach to prevention of childhood obesity is early intervention and both among parents and children.

Conclusion: Results show that the prevalence of overweight among Danish children is not equally distributed in society and therefore the need to reduce child obesity is especially necessary among risk groups, including primary school children, as there is an increase in social inequality in childhood obesity. In order to have a positive effect of interventions in child obesity, the involvement of elements "focus", "early intervention", "school as an arena", "education in diet and exercise," "parental involvement", "follow-up" and "evaluation" are important.

Keywords: primary school, early intervention, Body Mass Index, Pierre Bourdieu, prevention, childhood obesity
Publication date1 Jun 2015
Number of pages141
ID: 213400336