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.
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- eating disorders
- health promotion