Overweight in Turkish children: the parent's perception
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Title: Overweight in Turkish children: the parent’s perception Background: The prevalence of overweight and obesity in Turkish children is higher compared with Dutch children and is increasing at an alarming rate. Parental recognition and acknowledgement of their child's weight are critical steps in the success of interventions aimed at preventing overweight. Aim and research question: The study aims to gain insight into the perception of Turkish parents with an overweight or obese child. Two research questions are formulated: ‘How do parents perceive childhood overweight in general’ and ‘how do parents perceive their child’s weight?’ Method: Grounded theory (GT) approach. Data were collected from January till May 2012 at a Youth Health Care Centre in the Netherlands by using a focus group and in-depth interviews. Data were analysed using open, axial and selective coding. Results: Ten mothers, one father and one informant were interviewed. A pattern of perception among Turkish parents emerged, characterized by two core themes: ‘perception of weight’ and ‘willingness to change’ and two contextual themes: ‘role of culture’ and ‘role of family’. Parents misperceived the gravity of their child’s weight although they recognized overweight in general. Mothers need to be willing to change the child’s lifestyle but they are being influenced by family and culture. Conclusion: Childhood overweight and obesity among Turkish children could be caused by parental unawareness of their child’s weight status, which is strongly influenced by cultural traditions, habits and family. Recommendations: Nurses should evaluate mothers’ perceptions about their children’s weight and correct their misperceptions by educating and empowering them. More research is needed to assess the role of culture (social factor) in a broader Turkish population before developing a culturally tailored intervention. To raise social-cultural awareness it is necessary to start a dialog within the Turkish community about health issues associated with overweight.