Childhood obesity: Qualitative research with parents
Summary of findings
- Although focus groups were recruited by attitudinal statement it appeared that parents with varying levels of motivation, to provide their children with a healthy diet, could be found in all clusters
- Clusters biased towards social classes C2DE were more likely to find the cost of food and worry about wastage to be a barrier to providing more fruit and vegetables.
- idiosyncratic factors (such as child personality, birth order and caring arrangements) clearly affected children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.
- More obstacles are faced in encouraging children to eat vegetables rather than fruit.
- Recall of lazy town concepts, particularly in children under 7 was high. Suggestions are made in relation to response to other lazy town products, namely; energy book, wall chart and the “contract”. Information is also provided concerning appropriate product outlets and branding endorsements.
Qualitative research to inform the development of an obesity prevention concept which would encourage trial and experimentation of healthy foods and resonate with the target audience.
- To develop a concept to encourage trial and experimentation of healthy foods by children aged under 11 years old who are at risk of obesity.
- To evaluate whether the concept resonated with the target audience (families with children under 11 years old from groups known to be most at risk of obesity).
Parents were interviewed both to inform new market strategies and to evaluate Lazy Town Concept Materials.
Parents were segmented by social class, age and motivational level. Parents were segmented by social class, age and motivational level, (relating to encouraging their children to eat healthy foods).
The sample was composed of the following four segments – all made up of families known to be at risk of childhood obesity:
- Cluster 1: SEG C2DE, aged 24 – 34 years old, rural location (Wrexham), included single parent households. Attitudinally: “Poor household diet, resistant to healthy eating, perceived barriers to exercise expense and time.” One extended focus group, one family interview and one pair depth interview were conducted with respondents from Cluster 1.
- Cluster 2: SEG DE, aged 17 – 34 years old, included single parent households, urban location (Woolwich, South London). Attitudinally: “Not worried about healthy eating because perceived as complicated and having fussy children.” One extended focus group, two family interviews and two pair depth interviews were conducted with respondents from Cluster 2.
- Cluster 3: SEG C1, aged 34 – 44 years old, included families with more than two children, conducted in York. Attitudinally: “Often dieting and over-indulging, knowledgeable about healthy eating and believe they do enough exercise.” One extended focus group, two family interviews and two pair depth interviews were conducted with respondents from Cluster 3.
- Cluster 4: SEG C1C2DE, aged 17 – 60 years old, conducted in Liverpool. Attitudinally: “Traditional parents with strong family values rejecting many of the healthy messages on grounds of price.” One extended focus group, one family interview and one pair depth interview were conducted with respondents from Cluster 5.
Mixed family groups age range 17-60
Data collection methodology
Other data collection methodology
The research employed a mixed methodology of focus groups, family interviews and pair depth discussions.
Total sample size was not listed. The sample was composed of:
- Four extended focus group discussions (divided between clusters 1-4 above) with parents of children aged under 11 years old
- Six family interviews, (divided between clusters 1-4 above) with families of children aged under 11 years old, all family members present.
- Six friendship pair depth interviews, (divided between clusters 1-4 above) with mothers of children aged 6 years old.
- One focus group with teachers, 1.5 hours duration with teachers of Years 1 – 3.
Interviews were conducted in Liverpool, Wrexham, Woolwich (South London) and York
The research was conducted between 29th March and 5th April 2005.
Agree to publish
Moderate. Notions of parenting and class and how this affects motivation to encourage healthy eating in children may be sensitive. In addition see methodological comments below.