A mixed-methods evaluation of prospective acceptability for a family-targeted programme promoting healthy lifestyles

Lauren Bell, Maxine Whelan, Lucie Thomas, Hayley Wright, Deborah Lycett, Gemma Mckinnon, Jo Southan, Riya Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Childhood overweight and obesity is a serious public health concern in the UK. As part of a national initiative, parents and caregivers are provided information about their child’s weight status and invited to attend healthy lifestyle programmes. Uptake to these programmes, however, is low. This study investigated the prospective acceptability of a healthy lifestyles programme to help refine a commissioned programme. Subject and methods: Parents and caregivers of children aged 4–11 years were invited to respond to a survey and interviews. Responses were coded into domains of the theoretical framework of acceptability (TFA) using deductive thematic analysis. Results: Data from 60 survey respondents and six interviewees indicated that most participants would be open to attending a healthy lifestyles programme. Participants reported high levels of perceived effectiveness and self-efficacy. Barriers to attendance were identified in the domains of burden, opportunity costs, and ethicality, as well as a lack of information about the format, content, and target audience of the programme. Participants indicated that they would be more likely to enrol if they were aware the programme offered opportunities for social interaction and interactive, holistic learning. Conclusion: Although prospective acceptability of the healthy lifestyles programme is high, this did not translate to attendance at the programme. Using the TFA can inform both the intervention refinement process and how recruitment and marketing of the programme can be supported. Provision of more information about the aims, content, and delivery of the programme, and who the target audience is, would improve uptake rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalJournal of Public Health (Germany)
Early online date29 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Child obesity
  • Child overweight
  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Prospective acceptability
  • Weight management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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