Australian school stakeholders' perceived strategies for preventing adolescent obesity

Buru, Kakale, Emeto, Theophilus I., Malau-Aduli, Aduli E.O., and Malau-Aduli, Bunmi S. (2021) Australian school stakeholders' perceived strategies for preventing adolescent obesity. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (17). 9387.

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Adolescent obesity is a complex multifactorial disease with a combination of environmental, behavioral, psychosocial, biological, cultural and genetic determinants. It remains a global public health issue that presents a major challenge to chronic disease prevention and health into adulthood. Schools have a rich opportunity to improve youth health and tackle obesity, yet they face barriers in fulfilling this function. This study investigated school stakeholders' beliefs and perceptions of the barriers and enablers currently experienced by schools, as well as their recommendations towards preventing adolescent obesity. A sequential explanatory mixed-methods study design was utilised with surveys administered for the quantitative phase and individual interviews for the qualitative phase. Descriptive statistics and inductive thematic analyses were utilised for the survey and interview data, respectively. Triangulation of findings from the quantitative and qualitative phases aided in the better understanding and integration of the overall results. In total, 60 school stakeholders (52 subject teachers, 3 senior teachers and 5 heads of department) from both independent and public high schools in Queensland, Australia responded to the survey, while 14 respondents participated in the interviews. The main perceived causes of obesity were poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle. Highlighted barriers were busy timetables, shortage of trained staff and funding, lack of robustness in the introduction and implementation of school interventions and insufficient motivation of learners to participate in obesity prevention programs. Enabling factors included parental support, easy access to fitness equipment during recess, supportive government policies, provision of healthier school tuck shop menu options and elimination of sugary drinks from vending machines. A model for the prevention of adolescent obesity was developed based on participants’ perceptions. Tripartite collaboration between the school, government and parents was perceived as fundamental to preventing adolescent obesity. Strategies targeting nutrition, physical activity and overall health, including parental education on health, formal health talks in schools by health professionals and better-targeted advertisement encouraging healthy lifestyle choices, were identified as essential for improved adolescent health outcomes.

Item ID: 69295
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1660-4601
Keywords: adolescent obesity; stakeholders; interventions; physical activity
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Copyright Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution(CC BY) license (
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2021 00:03
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420605 Preventative health care @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200411 Overweight and obesity @ 100%
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