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Friday, February 9 • 10:45am - 12:00pm
The lived experience of a family dealing with childhood obesity: A thematic analysis of a published memoir with suggestions for future study and intervention.

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Childhood obesity is an issue of epidemic proportions. About 17% of children ages 2-19 are considered obese. Overweight children are at risk for developing comorbid diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and breathing problems. The family plays a key role in understanding and managing childhood obesity. Studies have shown that a child with one obese parent has a 40% chance of developing obesity, while those with two obese parents have an 80% chance. To better understand the role of the family in weight management, we conducted a thematic analysis of a case study based on a published memoir, “The Heavy,” by Dara- Lynn Weiss. We organized identified themes using Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological model. Major thematic categories were family organization, social interactions, and change within the family system. As examples, the family in “The Heavy” dealt with traditions around food, misunderstandings with healthcare professionals, and opposing parenting styles surrounding the child's weight loss program. Based on this case study, we suggest future research include looking at internal family dynamics and multiple systems impacting the family concerning weight management; and interventions include parental involvement and a tailored approach based on family needs.

Friday February 9, 2018 10:45am - 12:00pm
Great Hall Conference Center