Greenwood, Nicola and Lewis, Kiara (2014) Health Promotion and Overweight Children: Whose responsibility? Insights into paediatric nurse’s attitude toward health promotion. In: 10th Annual Meeting and 5th Conference of HEPA Europe, 26th - 29th August 2014, Zurich, Switzerland. (Unpublished)

Introduction: In England around one in five 4/5 year olds and one in three 10/11 year olds are classified as overweight or obese (NOO, 2014). Childhood obesity poses a significant risk to a psychological and physical health, both now and in the future (WHO, 2012). Health care professionals (HCP) across the board are being asked to take every opportunity to promote healthy living and ‘Make every contact count’ including asking questions regarding patient’s diet and exercise behaviours (Royal College of Physicians 2010). Acute care paediatric nurses are in an ideal position to be able to offer counselling and advice to children and their parents when admitted to hospital, at a time when they may be most receptive to health promotion strategies (Mulgan 2010). The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2008) place a duty of care with nurses to protect and promote the health of those in their care and Public Health England (PHE) calls upon all nurses and midwives to make a personal and professional impact to improve health by becoming health promoting practitioners (PHE, 2013). This study was designed to explore the attitudes of those at the front line being asked to deliver health promotion (including diet and physical activity advice).
Aims: to explore the attitudes of paediatric nurses on delivering health promotion to overweight children and their families during acute care admissions.
Method: A qualitative study, based on semi
-structured interviews, involving six paediatric nurses from a UK based NHS funded hospital.
Results: The paediatric nurses, as found with other health care professions, perceived there were both institutional and personal barriers to promoting healthy lifestyles. Six themes emerged from the data i) responsibility for delivery of health promotion, ii) sensitivity of the issue, iii) benefits of health promotion iv) influence of parents, v) skills of the nurses and vi) institutional support.
Discussion: The paediatric nurses conceived their priority for the children in their care was treatment of the child’s illness and that the acute care setting was not the appropriate environment to deliver health promotion. Childhood obesity is a serious issue demanding action from health care services and the professionals involved. Further research is required to facilitate the development of ethical policies on the delivery of health promotion strategies within the acute care setting.

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