What environmental factors affect the implementation of the Manchester Healthy Schools program? A qualitative exploration of staff perspectives

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BMJ open. 2022 Apr 29;12(4):e048683. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-048683.


OBJECTIVES: Primary/elementary schools are crucial settings for early weight management interventions, but the effects on children’s weight are small. This may be because the environments in which these schools are located promote unhealthy behaviors that lead to weight gain (obesogenic environments). Staff working in schools have unique insights into the environmental factors that may affect their efforts to support child health and weight management interventions. The purpose of this study is to explore the perspectives of staff in relation to the perceived effects of the environmental context in which they perform a child health promotion intervention.

METHODS: Staff from five schools involved in delivering the Manchester Healthy Schools program were interviewed (N = 19). These interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically.

RESULTS: Three themes were produced: opportunities to be healthy; importance of funding, resources and governance; and the resources available to households and neighborhoods.

CONCLUSION: The views of school staff were consistent with themes identified in other relevant publications. Although there have been serendipitous opportunities to capitalize on local resources, such as the use of nearby land and recreational facilities for outdoor physical activities, many barriers related to environmental characteristics and local resources have been reported. Joint and multi-agency solutions such as place-based approaches might be able to offer schools resource-based support; however, more research is needed to establish how best to achieve the best results for children.

PMID:35487719 | DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-048683