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Barriers and facilitators to health care professionals discussing child weight with parents: A meta‐synthesis of qualitative studies

Bradbury, D. ORCID: 0000-0001-5730-2032, Chisholm, A., Watson, P. M., Bundy, C., Bradbury, N. and Birtwistle, S. (2018). Barriers and facilitators to health care professionals discussing child weight with parents: A meta‐synthesis of qualitative studies. British Journal of Health Psychology, 23(3), pp. 701-722. doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12312


Childhood obesity is one of the most serious global public health challenges. However, obesity and its consequences are largely preventable. As parents play an important role in their children's weight‐related behaviours, good communication between parents and health care professionals (HCPs) is essential. This systematic review provides a meta‐synthesis of qualitative studies exploring the barriers and facilitators experienced by HCPs when discussing child weight with parents.

Searches were conducted using the following databases: MEDLINE (OVID), Psych INFO (OVID), EMBASE (OVID), Web of Knowledge and CINAHL. Thirteen full‐text qualitative studies published in English language journals since 1985 were included. Included studies collected data from HCPs (e.g., nurses, doctors, dieticians, psychologists, and clinical managers) concerning their experiences of discussing child weight‐related issues with parents. An inductive thematic analysis was employed to synthesize findings.

Emerging subthemes were categorized using a socio‐ecological framework into intra/interpersonal factors, organizational factors, and societal factors. Perceived barriers and facilitators most commonly related to intra/interpersonal level factors, that is, relating to staff factors, parental factors, or professional–parent interactions. HCPs also attributed a number of barriers, but not facilitators, at the organizational and societal levels.

The findings of this review may help to inform the development of future weight‐related communication interventions. Whilst intra/interpersonal interventions may go some way to improving health care practice, it is crucial that all stakeholders consider the wider organizational and societal context in which these interactions take place.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors. British Journal of Health Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Date available in CRO: 30 Apr 2021 05:55
Date deposited: 30 April 2021
Date of first online publication: 26 April 2018
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

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