Document Type

Journal Article


Objective: To investigate the barriers to increasing physical activity and limiting small screen recreation time among obese children.

Design: Qualitative study using a case study design incorporating focus groups and interviews with parents and pair interviews with children.

Participants: Nine obese children (age range 5—12 years) and their parents.

Methods: Parents participated in focus groups followed by individual interviews to explain their perceptions of the barriers their child faced in spending more time participating in physical activity and less time in small screen recreation. Children took part in pair interviews to identify their barriers. Parents and children also discussed strategies to promote physical activity and limit small screen recreation time.

Results: A wide range of barriers were identified. These included family dynamics, lack of social support, the physical environment and perceived competence. Parents were unable to identify strategies to overcome these barriers.

Conclusion and implications: Among obese children and their parents, there are an array of barriers to increasing physical activity and limiting small screen recreation. Parents believe that they know what they have to do to overcome many of these barriers but they are unaware of the actions they need to take.