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The role of the primary school in preventing childhood obesity

Clarke, Joanne Louise (2016)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Childhood obesity is a global public health concern. In England, the prevalence of overweight/obesity increases from one fifth at the start of the primary school years to one third by the age of 10-11 years. This thesis examines the role of primary schools in preventing obesity. Stakeholder views are considered through a systematic review, and two qualitative studies investigating the perceptions of headteachers, parents and children. Data from a childhood obesity prevention trial (the WAVES study) are also used to examine the relationships between school policy/practice and pupil weight status/physical activity levels. Findings show that stakeholders support the school role in preventing obesity, and in helping families to lead healthier lifestyles, though limited expertise and resources are barriers. Although most schools actively promote health, there is much variation. For example, time allocated for physical education and breaks varies by school and has a significant impact on children’s physical activity levels, particularly for boys. In conclusion, school policies and practices can impact on children’s health, and schools are ideally placed to support families to prevent obesity. However, schools require support to perceive this role as a feasible and integral part of their function, rather than as an increasing burden of responsibility.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Adab, Peymane and Lancashire, Emma and Pallan, Miranda
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
Department:Institute of Applied Health Research
Additional Information:

Publication resulting from research: Clarke, J., Fletcher, B., Lancashire, E., Pallan, M. and Adab, P. (2013), The views of stakeholders on the role of the primary school in preventing childhood obesity: a qualitative systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 14: 975–988.

Subjects:LB1501 Primary Education
RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:6561
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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