Using appreciative inquiry methodology to develop a weight management program for obese children in New Zealand

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Paediatric obesity predicts adult obesity, and alarming new data in New Zealand reveals that obesity among the young continues to rise. In this study, we used a novel solution-focused paradigm, or appreciative inquiry perspective, to explore the factors that influence not just obese but non-obese states (that is, healthy weight as well as obesity), in Pacific adolescents (aged 13–17) living in socioeconomically deprived neighbourhoods.


Sixty-eight parents and adolescents from 30 families were recruited and interviewed, resulting in 15 obese and 15 healthy weight adolescents participating in the study.


Our findings showed that, despite living in low socioeconomic circumstances, parents were able to alter their micro-environments to prevent obesity in their children. Parents with healthy weight adolescents had food rules in the home and monitored their children's eating and television viewing time.


An appreciative inquiry approach to obesity research can uncover resiliency factors within families that can be applied to obesity prevention and treatment programs.

Implications for public health:

Appreciative inquiry methodology is a promising alternative qualitative research strategy for developing health interventions for low-income ethnic minority communities.

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