Adolescents’ Perspectives on the Drivers of Obesity Using a Group Model Building Approach: A South African Perspective

Gaironeesa Hendricks, Natalie Savona, Anaely Aguiar, Olufunke Alaba, Sharmilah Booley, Sonia Malczyk, Emmanuel Nwosu, Cecile Knai, Harry Rutter, Knut-Inge Klepp, Janetta Harbron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Overweight and obesity increase the risk of a range of poor physiological and psychosocial health outcomes. Previous work with well-defined cohorts has explored the determinants of obesity and employed various methods and measures; however, less is known on the broader societal drivers, beyond individual-level influences, using a systems framework with adolescents. The aim of this study was to explore the drivers of obesity from adolescents’ perspectives using a systems approach through group model building in four South African schools. Group model building was used to generate 4 causal loop diagrams with 62 adolescents aged 16-18 years. These maps were merged into one final map, and the main themes were identified: (i) physical activity and social media use; (ii) physical activity, health-related morbidity, and socio-economic status; (iii) accessibility of unhealthy food and energy intake/body weight; (iv) psychological distress, body weight, and weight-related bullying; and (v) parental involvement and unhealthy food intake. Our study identified meaningful policy-relevant insights into the drivers of adolescent obesity, as described by the young people themselves in a South African context. This approach, both the process of construction and the final visualization, provides a basis for taking a novel approach to prevention and intervention recommendations for adolescent obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2160
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The CO‐CREATE project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 re‐ search and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 774210. The content of this article reflects only the authors’ views, and the European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information it contains. Institutional Review Board Statement: The study was conducted in accordance with the Declara‐ tion of Helsinki and approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Cape Town (HREC REF: 257/2019). Permission to conduct the study in public schools was obtained from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). Informed Consent Statement: Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study. Data Availability Statement: Data is contained within the article or supplementary material. Acknowledgments: The authors would like to acknowledge the valuable contributions of co‐author S.B. who passed away prior to the submission of the research paper. We would also like to thank Megan Blacker, Marieke Theron, Natasha Driescher, Bulelani Makapela, and Elsabe Smuts for their assistance with the organization and co‐facilitation of the GMB sessions. We would also like to ex‐ press our gratitude to the youth who participated in the GMB sessions and the staff at the four schools who helped to facilitate the interactions with the youth. Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Funding Information:
The CO‐CREATE project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 774210. The content of this article reflects only the authors’ views, and the European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Group model building
  • Obesity
  • Qualitative
  • System mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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