Barriers to addressing childhood weight issues in acute care settings and how to overcome them
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Barriers to addressing childhood weight issues in acute care settings and how to overcome them

Natalie Warren Staff nurse, paediatric intensive care unit, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, England (article written while a third year student, Bournemouth University, England)
Jane Hunt Senior lecturer, children’s and young people’s nursing, Bournemouth University, England

Excess weight and obesity in childhood is a global problem, with UK prevalence unfavourably high. Despite national policy recommendations and professional guidelines that nurses should address the issue, research shows that practice is not consistent.

This literature review identifies barriers nurses face in addressing childhood weight issues with families in acute healthcare settings. Three interlinked themes are identified: parental receptiveness; knowledge, education and resource constraints; and time, priority and continuity constraints.

Senior managers, particularly those working in acute settings, must prioritise measures to tackle childhood obesity and excessive weight to enable nurses to address the issue. Additionally, further UK-specific research is needed to explore the barriers perceived by nurses and how these affect local practices. Children's nursing education and practice should include obesity recognition and prevention to increase nurses' confidence and abilities in tackling childhood obesity, despite perceived parental barriers.


Nursing Children and Young People. 29, 5,18-23. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2017.e813

Received: 13 June 2016

Accepted: 26 January 2017

Published in print: 12 June 2017

Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict Of Interest