Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The meaning of school body mass index (BMI) screening and referral to the parents/guardians of first, third, and sixth grade students
by Jorda, Mary Louise, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2015, 229; 10154939
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to discover the meaning of school body mass index (BMI) screening and referral to parents. The goal of school BMI screening and referral is to provide information to compel parents to change their child’s diet and activity levels when overweight and obesity are identified. Measuring BMI in schools and alerting parents to findings above what is considered normal is one intervention to reduce overweight and obesity that has been utilized since 2001 in Florida.

To determine the meaning of BMI screening and referral to parents a mixed methods approach was utilized. Voluntary interviews of 20 parents who had received BMI referrals for their children were conducted. Analysis of the interviews was guided by phenomenology, as delineated by van Manen (1997). A cross sectional survey developed by Ruggieri (2012), was distributed to measure parent beliefs and opinions regarding the BMI screening and their reaction to referrals.

Findings from interviews indicated that parents ascribe different meaning to school BMI screening and referral. Overarching themes of changing and reflecting were discovered. The themes were manifested as dichotomies; some parents reflected on their role as parent and were more satisfied with the process; they reported change of diet and activity for their families upon receipt of a BMI referral. Others reflected on the role of the school in their child’s life. They were more dissatisfied with the school screening and recommended changes in the screening and referral process. Suggested changes for school screening and referrals included subthemes: sensitivity, accuracy, privacy, and notification.

Parents responded in the survey that they would change diet and activity for their families if they were told by the school that their child had a weight issue. Actions taken upon receipt of a BMI referral were not limited to changing diet and activity levels but also included discussing weight with their child and others. Parents denied they would be offended by a BMI referral. School BMI screening and referral is a valuable and effective intervention to address child overweight and obesity, especially if the process is accomplished with characteristics that parents deem caring.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Barry, Charlotte D.
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 78/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle School education, Elementary education, Nursing, Nutrition, Kinesiology, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Body mass index, Child obesity, School health
Publication Number: 10154939
ISBN: 978-1-369-10024-2
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