OBJECTIVE: The Eat Well Move More (EWMM) family and child weight management service is a 12-week intervention integrating healthy eating and physical activity education and activities for families and children aged 4-16. EWMM service providers identified low uptake 12 months prior to the evaluation. The aims of this study were to describe referral practices and pathways into the service to identify potential reasons for low referral and uptake rates.
RESULTS: We conducted interviews and focus groups with general practitioners (GPs) (n = 4), school nurses, and nursing assistants (n = 12). Data were analysed using thematic analysis. School nurses highlighted three main barriers to making a referral: parent engagement, child autonomy, and concerns over the National Child Measurement Programme letter. GPs highlighted that addressing obesity among children is a 'difficult conversation' with several complex issues related to and sustaining that difficulty. In conclusion, referral into weight management services in the community may persistently lag if a larger and more complex tangle of barriers lie at the point of school nurse and GP decision-making. The national prevalence of, and factors associated with this hesitation to discuss weight management issues with parents and children remains largely unknown.
- Child, Preschool
- Health Communication
- Health Education/methods
- Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
- Pediatric Obesity/therapy
- Qualitative Research
- School Health Services
- Weight Reduction Programs/methods