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Table 3 Theme 2: Comments about the influence of the support network on program participation

From: Why do parents enrol in a childhood obesity management program?: a qualitative study with parents of overweight and obese children

Sub-theme 1: Participants are not fully supported in their efforts to address the child’s weight
P2: ‘I mentioned the program to other parents…some discouraged us joining…they thought she will be put on a diet’
P6: ‘I spoke to other parents [about joining the program], they said I shouldn’t enrol because it will make him feel bad about himself’
P8: ‘he [child’s father] didn’t want to come in for the sessions…said ‘why do parents always get the blame?…he’s bad with eating habits too, can’t walk past the fridge without getting something out’
P8: ‘I asked his teacher about the weight but she didn’t think it was an issue’
P12: ‘Some friends said: why would you bother [enrolling to the program]’
P16: ‘I told some parents at school and friends about the program and they said: he’s not fat, don’t put him in a weight loss program’
P20: ‘Friends at work were surprised [to hear about mother joining the program]…they said that she [daughter] is not overweight. I don’t mind telling my side of the family but prefer not to share with my husband side of the family, they are all bigger people and may think: what are you doing it for?’
Sub-theme 2: Health professionals rarely raise the child’s weight issue with the parents
P1: ‘I never asked my GP for help with her weight issue…GP never weighs her’
P4: ‘I went to GP to ask for help in the past because we were concerned…GP wasn’t concerned…said that he’s a kid and will grow out of it, things will sort themselves out….he [GP] looked at us and said that he [child] has a bigger frame because we have it too…GP only weighs children when prescribes antibiotics and never commented that there may be an issue with weight’
P5: ‘GP never weighed kids, only when they were younger but no one ever flagged anything. Now kids are past the time when they get weighed by GP anyway’
P12: ‘I was told by GP that things will sort themselves out and that she [daughter] will grow out of it…the only advice given was to eat healthy’
P18: ‘GP was checking weight which was fine but it [weight] wasn’t flagged as an issue’
P19: ‘I have been getting her weight checked at the GP clinic with a nurse…she [nurse] was plotting it all on a graph…didn’t say anything that she [daughter] is overweight but I could see that she is off the graph…I asked her advice [nurse’s], she didn’t have any advice…I asked GP and he said that the main thing is that she [daughter] needs to be active’
Sub-theme 3: Conversations about the child’s weight issue with health professionals are often considered to be ineffective
P4: ‘we asked [GP] for referral to a dietitian, it was good…but the dietitian was talking to us…didn’t take the time to talk to him’
P7: ‘We tried so many things…dietitian, GP, paediatrician, no one could help us. I was not impressed with the dietitian, she only spoke to me and didn’t make any effort to build rapport with her [the child]. I thought it was a little waste of time ….I could see that she [the child] is not interested because she was not included in the conversation…and then suddenly was told to eat this or that’
P10: ‘we saw a nutritionist a few times….it was good but a lot [what was recommended] we were already doing at home’
P12: ‘I went to GP and dietitians for help but found that it was not enough, it was food based only…adult focused advice not child focused. They spoke to me more than to her. I regret taking her to the dietitian, she was nice but gave us all these charts and explained it all…she [daughter] at home later on said that she’s so fat according to these graphs and was upset about it’
P13: ‘GP wanted to refer us to dietitian but I declined…I didn’t want him to be worried too much about weight and possibly develop an eating disorder later on’
P15: ‘Once the dietitian took the diet history she said that she’s not sure what we are doing there because we eat very healthy’
P16: ‘We visited a nutritionist at the hospital…it was useful but there was a long wait…the consultation wasn’t long enough and there was no follow up…when we saw a nutritionist later on, it was a different person…it wasn’t very good’
P20: ‘I have been taking him [child] to many doctors, they did many different test but found nothing, at the end they told me: it’s obviously your fault, you let him eat everything and he doesn’t exercise’