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      Perception of School Committee Members (SCMs) on Factors Contributing to Overweight and Obesity Among High School Students in Kiribati: A Qualitative Study


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          Schools are vital settings for overweight and obesity prevention among children and adolescents. School Committee Members (SCMs) are crucial assets to engaging students with overweight and obesity prevention programs. This study aimed to determine factors contributing to overweight and obesity among high school students in Kiribati through the perception of SCMs.


          This prospective qualitative study was conducted in four randomly selected senior high schools in South Tarawa, Kiribati, from August to November 2020. With a purposive selection of 20 SCMs employed at the four high schools, both male and female participants consented to participate in the study. A semi-structured open-ended questionnaire was used for data collection using focus group discussions (FGDs). Data were transcribed and analyzed using the thematic analysis method.


          Twenty participants were involved in FGDs with equal number of SCMs (n = 5) who attended FGDs for each school and 45% of them were female participants. Six themes were identified, namely, knowledge, behaviors, perceived status toward overweight and obesity, perceived action benefits, perceived barriers to practices, and proposed strategies to overweight and obesity prevention. These themes reveal that SCMs have a broad understanding and skill set for overweight and obesity causes and effects. However, the aptitude alone is not enough to prevent the occurrence, and thus, proposed feasible plans were voiced for responsible stakeholders to include in policy developments for overweight and obesity prevention.


          This study recognized that the knowledge-behavior gap is the main reason behind the failure in preventative strategic approaches among adolescents. As role models to students, SCMs and their schools should team up in implementing the public health policies and building mutual awareness and understanding with students and other specialist stakeholders for a more momentous and viable impact.

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          Most cited references55

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          Obesity stigma: important considerations for public health.

          Stigma and discrimination toward obese persons are pervasive and pose numerous consequences for their psychological and physical health. Despite decades of science documenting weight stigma, its public health implications are widely ignored. Instead, obese persons are blamed for their weight, with common perceptions that weight stigmatization is justifiable and may motivate individuals to adopt healthier behaviors. We examine evidence to address these assumptions and discuss their public health implications. On the basis of current findings, we propose that weight stigma is not a beneficial public health tool for reducing obesity. Rather, stigmatization of obese individuals threatens health, generates health disparities, and interferes with effective obesity intervention efforts. These findings highlight weight stigma as both a social justice issue and a priority for public health.
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            Reducing children's television viewing to prevent obesity: a randomized controlled trial.

            Some observational studies have found an association between television viewing and child and adolescent adiposity. To assess the effects of reducing television, videotape, and video game use on changes in adiposity, physical activity, and dietary intake. Randomized controlled school-based trial conducted from September 1996 to April 1997. Two sociodemographically and scholastically matched public elementary schools in San Jose, Calif. Of 198 third- and fourth-grade students, who were given parental consent to participate, 192 students (mean age, 8.9 years) completed the study. Children in 1 elementary school received an 18-lesson, 6-month classroom curriculum to reduce television, videotape, and video game use. Changes in measures of height, weight, triceps skinfold thickness, waist and hip circumferences, and cardiorespiratory fitness; self-reported media use, physical activity, and dietary behaviors; and parental report of child and family behaviors. The primary outcome measure was body mass index, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. Compared with controls, children in the intervention group had statistically significant relative decreases in body mass index (intervention vs control change: 18.38 to 18.67 kg/m2 vs 18.10 to 18.81 kg/m2, respectively; adjusted difference -0.45 kg/m2 [95% confidence interval [CI], -0.73 to -0.17]; P = .002), triceps skinfold thickness (intervention vs control change: 14.55 to 15.47 mm vs 13.97 to 16.46 mm, respectively; adjusted difference, -1.47 mm [95% CI, -2.41 to -0.54]; P=.002), waist circumference (intervention vs control change: 60.48 to 63.57 cm vs 59.51 to 64.73 cm, respectively; adjusted difference, -2.30 cm [95% CI, -3.27 to -1.33]; P<.001), and waist-to-hip ratio (intervention vs control change: 0.83 to 0.83 vs 0.82 to 0.84, respectively; adjusted difference, -0.02 [95% CI, -0.03 to -0.01]; P<.001). Relative to controls, intervention group changes were accompanied by statistically significant decreases in children's reported television viewing and meals eaten in front of the television. There were no statistically significant differences between groups for changes in high-fat food intake, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Reducing television, videotape, and video game use may be a promising, population-based approach to prevent childhood obesity.
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              Screen Media Exposure and Obesity in Children and Adolescents.

              Obesity is one of the best-documented outcomes of screen media exposure. Many observational studies find relationships between screen media exposure and increased risks of obesity. Randomized controlled trials of reducing screen time in community settings have reduced weight gain in children, demonstrating a cause and effect relationship. Current evidence suggests that screen media exposure leads to obesity in children and adolescents through increased eating while viewing; exposure to high-calorie, low-nutrient food and beverage marketing that influences children's preferences, purchase requests, consumption habits; and reduced sleep duration. Some evidence also suggests promise for using interactive media to improve eating and physical activity behaviors to prevent or reduce obesity. Future interdisciplinary research is needed to examine the effects of newer mobile and other digital media exposures on obesity; to examine the effectiveness of additional interventions to mitigate the adverse effects of media exposures on obesity and possible moderators and mediators of intervention effects; to effectively use digital media interventions to prevent and reduce obesity; and to uncover the mechanisms underlying the causal relationships and interactions between obesity-related outcomes and media content, characteristics, and context.

                Author and article information

                Front Public Health
                Front Public Health
                Front. Public Health
                Frontiers in Public Health
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                11 April 2022
                : 10
                [1] 1Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Medical Services , South Tarawa, Kiribati
                [2] 2School of Public Health and Primary Care, Fiji National University , Suva, Fiji
                [3] 3Department of Clinical Nutrition, Northern Border University , Arar, Saudi Arabia
                Author notes

                Edited by: Christiane Stock, Charité Medical University of Berlin, Germany

                Reviewed by: Kath Peters, Western Sydney University, Australia; John F. Smith, Khon Kaen University, Thailand

                *Correspondence: Masoud Mohammadnezhad masraqo@ 123456hotmail.com

                This article was submitted to Public Health Education and Promotion, a section of the journal Frontiers in Public Health

                Copyright © 2022 Tong, Mohammadnezhad, Alqahtani and Salusalu.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 63, Pages: 13, Words: 9844
                Public Health
                Original Research

                high school,adolescents,overweight and obesity,determinants,school committee members,kiribati


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