Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Health Expectations








School of Nursing and Midwifery


Newson, L., Sides, N., & Rashidi, A. (2024). The psychosocial beliefs, experiences and expectations of children living with obesity. Health Expectations, 27(1), article e13973.


Background: Childhood obesity has been shown to impair psychological health. However, psychological factors are often overlooked in both research evaluations and treatment interventions, and children's perspectives on managing obesity are underexplored. Neglecting psychosocial factors might undermine interventions. This research explored the psychological beliefs, expectations and experiences of children living with obesity (range 7–13) and attending a weight management programme (WMP). Methods: Thirty-four participants (19 females, 15 males, average age 9.5 years) completed a semistructured interview. Recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Four overarching themes were developed: (1) defining health and self-recognition; (2) external influence; feedback, stigma and comparison; (3) recognising emotions and (4) future expectations: obesity is a reality. These themes interact to influence the children's psychosocial status. Conclusions: This study highlights a range of psychosocial and emotional difficulties that children living with obesity experience and suggests that these remain regardless of their attendance at a WMP. Interventions for children living with obesity should address psychosocial factors, including stress management, peer victimisation and handling feedback from others. Patient or Public Contribution: As proposed by the two young people acting as patient and public involvement and engagement representatives, the utilisation of scrapbooks as a preinterview tool was particularly helpful in aiding discussion during the interviews. This innovative approach could be considered a valuable methodological technique for investigating sensitive topics with children in future research.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.