Culture & Childhood Obesity: Investigating maternal experiences

Ozlem Baykaner

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Childhood obesity is one of the most serious and ongoing public health challenges, with the many negative physical and psychological outcomes well acknowledged in the literature. Ethnic and race disparities in childhood obesity in the UK have also been demonstrated. The experience of parenting an obese child however is less well researched, particularly in relation to minority ethnic families living in the UK. The current study aimed to explore minority ethnic parental experiences of childhood obesity. Six semi-structured interviews were conducted with the mothers of obese children, who were from a minority ethnic background. Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009) was used to identify themes and connections across parents’ accounts. Five superordinate themes were identified: ‘Ambiguity towards ‘fat’’, ‘The complexity of food’, ‘Culture & family: torn between worlds’, ‘Dilemmas of motherhood’, ‘Managing my child’s weight’. The findings highlighted the complex interactions between ethnicity, acculturation and parental feeding. The importance and meaning of food and its link with culture and heritage was also a key finding. The findings also expressed the significance of family and their involvement in parenting. Negative experiences of health care interventions for their overweight children were also highlighted. Several research and clinical implications are recommended for healthcare professionals working with this unique client group.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Riazi, Afsane, Supervisor
Award date1 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2017

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