Pediatric Obesity Attitudes, Services, and Information Among Rural Parents: A Qualitative Study




The objective of this study was to learn more about the attitudes concerning pediatric obesity among rural parents, the barriers these parents face in trying to help their children attain a healthy weight status, and the pediatric weight loss services currently available in small rural communities. A series of eight qualitative focus groups were conducted with 21 parents of overweight rural children in third through fifth grade. Eight saturated themes resulted indicating that parents (i) believe overweight children are lazy, (ii) are concerned about the weight of their children, (iii) believe that some individuals will be overweight no matter what they do, and (iv) have tried a variety of techniques to help their children lose weight. Barriers to helping their children lose weight unique to their rural status included lack of weight loss resources in their community, lack of exercise facilities, and lack of low-fat or low-calorie options in grocery stores. Rural families of overweight children encounter many barriers to healthier living, some of which are unique to their rural status.