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Identifying barriers and facilitators to increase fibre intakes in UK Primary school children and exploring the acceptability of intervention components: a UK qualitative study

Donin, A. S., Goldsmith, L. P. ORCID: 0000-0002-6934-1925, Sharp, C. , Wahlich, C., Whincup, P. H. & Ussher, M. H. (2024). Identifying barriers and facilitators to increase fibre intakes in UK Primary school children and exploring the acceptability of intervention components: a UK qualitative study. Public Health Nutrition, 27(1), pp. 1-28. doi: 10.1017/s1368980024000089


Within the UK dietary fibre intakes are well below recommended intakes and associated with increased risk of obesity. This study aimed to explore the views of parents and children on barriers and facilitators to increasing fibre intakes and improving diets, alongside investigating the appropriateness of intervention components to overcome modifiable barriers.

Qualitative study including semi-structured interviews and focus groups informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) and the Capability-Opportunity-Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B) model.

Year 5 children (aged 9-10-years old) and parents, recruited through London Primary schools

A total of 24 participants (11 parents and 13 children) took part. Five key themes were identified as barriers and facilitators, namely lack of (and improving) knowledge, social factors (including parent-child conflicts, limited time for food preparation, influence of peer and family members), current eating habits, influence of the school, community and home environment in shaping eating behaviours, and the importance of choice and variety in finding foods that are healthy and tasty. Parents strongly supported school-based dietary interventions to enable consistent messaging at home and school and help support dietary behaviour change. Practical sessions (such as workshops to strengthen knowledge, taste tests and food swap ideas) were supported by parents and children.

By using a theory driven approach to explore the barriers and facilitators to increasing fibre intake, this research identified important themes and modifiable barriers to behaviour change and identifies acceptable intervention components to overcome barriers and bring about sustained dietary behaviour change in primary school children.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: School-based interventions, children, dietary fibre, healthy diet
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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