Weight Control in Adolescents: Focus Groups With Korean Adolescents and Their Teachers

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Purpose:This qualitative descriptive study sought to identify perceptions about and status of weight control in adolescents from the perspective of adolescents and their teachers.Methods:Focus groups were used with six separate groups, 20 adolescents divided into four groups and 14 teachers divided into two groups. The qualitative data were analyzed using a thematic analysis in NVivo 11.0. Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative studies (COREQ) were followed.Results:We extracted three themes and 12 sub-themes with 52 meaningful codes. Both adolescents and teachers stated that perceptions about weight control in adolescents were overly weighted toward management of one's appearance. The adolescents reported an increase in weight gained during adolescence, especially after entering high school, and they noted a lack of participation in physical activities and the presence of unhealthy dietary behaviors. However, adolescents perceived excessive weight gain during adolescence as natural, as long as they studied hard. Their teachers and parents were also permissive about weight gain resulted from study. The participants suggested that a weight control program for adolescents should be conducted in schools and should include every student in order to avoid discrimination. In addition, teacher involvement was emphasized to promote participation of adolescents in a school program.Conclusion:Our findings indicate that adolescents, especially those in a society emphasizing academics, need to practice healthy weight control behaviors. A school-based weight control program involving teachers and peers would be suitable and should be provided to all students regardless of weight classification.HIGHLIGHTSAdolescents and teachers perceived that meaning of weight control in adolescents was overly weighted toward management of one's appearance.They showed permissive attitudes about increasing weight during adolescence as long as adolescents studied hard.They suggested a school-based weight control program encouraging participation of every student to avoid discrimination against overweight or obesity.Teacher involvement was emphasized to promote participation of adolescents in a weight control program.

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