Getting the balance right: qualitative evaluation of a holistic weight management intervention to address childhood obesity

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BackgroundChildhood obesity is linked to a range of health and social problems. Solutions include the delivery of appropriate weight management interventions for those aged 16 and under. The ‘Balance It! Getting the Balance Right’ programme appears to be effective for those who complete the intervention, but the non-completion rate remains high. A qualitative evaluation was undertaken to explore the views of key stakeholders in the programme and identify possible reasons for non-completion.MethodsSemi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 16 NHS and local authority staff, and with 20 children (aged 4–16 years) and their families. A mosaic methodology was used, involving visual and verbal techniques employed to enable children of all ages to take an active role in expressing their opinions.ResultsKey themes included the challenges of approaching overweight children; positive outcomes for some families; and issues relating to communication and coordination. Participants spoke positively about the multi-disciplinary approach of ‘Balance It!’, but felt it could better meet the needs of its target population.ConclusionsStructured interventions help to ensure consistency and coherence in terms of approaches to childhood overweight and obesity. Whole family approaches may be most effective in enhancing the user experience.

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