Supporting healthcare professionals to address child weight with parents: A qualitative study

Miranda Pallan (Lead Author), Frances Mason, Helen Parretti, Peymané Adab, Sally Abbott, Kate Jolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Primary care and community healthcare professionals (HCPs) are well placed to discuss child excess weight with parents and support them to make changes. However, HCPs have concerns about addressing this issue. There is a need to understand the factors that influence HCPs in initiating these conversations to inform strategies to support them. AIM: To explore with HCPs, working in primary care and community settings, their experiences of having conversations about child weight with parents, and the factors that create barriers or facilitate them to have these conversations. DESIGN AND SETTING: A qualitative study with GPs, primary care nurses (PNs), and school nurses (SNs) in England. METHOD: GPs and PNs were recruited to participate in semi-structured interviews. SNs from a community healthcare NHS trust were recruited to participate in focus groups. Vignettes were used to stimulate discussion. Data were analysed guided by the Framework approach. RESULTS: Thirteen GPs, seven PNs, and 20 SNs participated. The following three themes were identified regarding barriers to HCPs having conversations about child excess weight: structural and organisational; HCP related; and parent or family related. The themes identified for the factors that facilitate these conversations were: structural changes (for example, dedicated appointments, access to weight assessment data, joined-up working across agencies); HCP approaches (for example, providing appropriate dietary and physical activity advice); and HCP knowledge and skills (for example, enhancing HCPs' general and weight management-related skills and knowledge of child weight management services). CONCLUSION: A range of barriers exist to HCPs addressing child excess weight with parents in primary care and community settings. Actions to effect structural changes and support HCPs in developing relevant knowledge and skills are required to overcome these barriers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e417-e425
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number743
Early online date11 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • child
  • general practice
  • paediatric obesity
  • primary health care
  • qualitative research
  • school nursing

Cite this