Elucidating knowledge and beliefs about obesity and eating disorders among key stakeholders

paving the way for an integrated approach to health promotion

Bianca Bullivant*, Aaron R. Denham, Clare Stephens, Rebecca E. Olson, Deborah Mitchison, Timothy Gill, Sarah Maguire, Janet D. Latner, Phillipa Hay, Bryan Rodgers, Richard J. Stevenson, Stephen Touyz, Jonathan M. Mond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Understanding the knowledge and beliefs of key stakeholders is crucial in developing effective public health interventions. Knowledge and beliefs about obesity and eating disorders (EDs) have rarely been considered, despite increasing awareness of the need for integrated health promotion programs. We investigated key aspects of knowledge and beliefs about obesity and EDs among key stakeholders in Australia.

Methods: Using a semi-structured question guide, eight focus groups and seven individual interviews were conducted with 62 participants including health professionals, personal trainers, teachers and consumer group representatives. An inductive thematic approach was used for data analysis.

Results: The findings suggest that, relative to obesity, EDs are poorly understood among teachers, personal trainers, and certain health professionals. Areas of commonality and distinction between the two conditions were identified. Integrated health promotion efforts that focus on shared risk (e.g., low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction) and protective (e.g., healthy eating, regular exercise) factors were supported. Suggested target groups for such efforts included young children, adolescents and parents.

Conclusions: The findings indicate areas where the EDs and obesity fields have common ground and can work together in developing integrated health promotion programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1681
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • eating disorders
  • obesity
  • integration
  • health promotion
  • stakeholders

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