Barriers to healthy eating and the prevention of overweight and obesity: A qualitative study of sixth form student’s perceptions
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AbstractThis dissertation aimed to elicit the views of sixth form students on barriers to healthy eating and the prevention of overweight and obesity. It explores the kind of interventions that should be in place to support them to make healthier choices and also considers the type of services that should be available for those who are overweight or obese. This study used qualitative research through conducting 4 focus groups in sixth form college settings. A topic guide was developed for use in the focus groups. Focus groups were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic content analysis was used to identify key themes and sub themes. 4 focus groups were conducted in 3 college settings, with a total of 25 participants, 18 females and 7 males aged between 16 and 19. 11 participants were studying A levels, 3 were studying BTEC’s and 11 were studying vocational courses. Whilst participants could define a healthy diet, they did not appear to endeavour to meet these guidelines. There was recognition of the long term health consequences of a poor diet, but this did not have a strong influence food choice in the here and now. Cost appeared to be the biggest barrier to healthy eating and this related to both within and external to, the college environment. The role of parents and college seem to have the greatest influence on facilitating healthy eating. There were clear and consistent views about what support they would like in college; water, more information on foods served in the canteen and inputs in tutorials. In relation to treatment services, participants felt that these should be located outside of college and be young person friendly. Young people in general are aware of the components of a healthy diet; however knowledge does not appear to be enough to facilitate behaviour change. Whilst colleges are taking steps to become healthier settings, there is more that could be done, namely; provision of free drinking water, nutritional information on food available at college, better use of tutor time for healthy eating information and practical cookery skills. Any treatment services should be young person friendly, specific to this age group, delivered by individuals with experience of working with young people and offered outside the college setting.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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