Using appreciative inquiry methodology to develop a weight management program for obese children in New Zealand

Authors:Tasileta Teevale, Joseph Kaholokula

Published in Australia and New Zealand of Public Health


Objectives: Paediatric obesity predicts adult obesity, and alarming new data in New Zealand reveals that obesity among the young continues to rise. In this study, we used a novel solution-focused paradigm, or appreciative inquiry perspective, to explore the factors that influence not just obese but non-obese states (that is, healthy weight as well as obesity), in Pacific adolescents (aged 13–17) living in socioeconomically deprived neighbourhoods.

Methods: Sixty-eight parents and adolescents from 30 families were recruited and interviewed, resulting in 15 obese and 15 healthy weight adolescents participating in the study.

Results: Our findings showed that, despite living in low socioeconomic circumstances, parents were able to alter their micro-environments to prevent obesity in their children. Parents with healthy weight adolescents had food rules in the home and monitored their children’s eating and television viewing time.

Conclusions: An appreciative inquiry approach to obesity research can uncover resiliency factors within families that can be applied to obesity prevention and treatment programs.

Implications for public health: Appreciative inquiry methodology is a promising alternative qualitative research strategy for developing health interventions for low-income ethnic minority communities.