Recommendations from Overweight Youth Regarding School-Based Weight Control Programs

Authors

  • Dianne Neumark-Sztainer PhD, MPH, RD,

    1. Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1300 South Second St., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454.
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  • Mary Story PhD, RD

    1. Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1300 South Second St., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454.
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Abstract

ABSTRACT: This study aimed to obtain recommendations from overweight youth on the development of school-based weight control programs; to determine their level of interest in participation; and to learn about the outcomes they desired from such a program. Because obesity is prevalent among youth of certain minority groups and low socioeconomic backgrounds, and since few programs address the needs of these youth, the study population was selected from inner city public schools with high percentages of youth from minority groups and low socioeconomic backgrounds. Sixty-one overweight adolescents participated in semi-structured, in-depth individual interviews, which were audiotaped, transcribed, coded, and analyzed. Findings indicated that many overweight adolescents were interested in participating in school-based weight control programs, provided they are conducted in a supportive manner; offer enjoyable activities; are informative; are sensitive to the needs of overweight youth; and do not conflict with other activities. Adolescents stressed the importance of a program leader who understands the difficulties that overweight youth face, and many expressed their preference for a leader who is currently overweight or had been overweight in the past.

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