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The purpose of this study was to develop a preliminary model to understand the social processes that influence a young child being overweight. Glaser’s grounded theory method was used to collect and analyze data. Interviews, observations, document reviews, and journal entries were used to collected data from July-November, 2015. There were 13 families (10 mothers, 2 spouses, 6 grandmothers) involved, all living in Bangkok, with overweight children from six months to three years of age.
The finding of our preliminary model, Sustain Weight Gain in Young Children, explains six categories, related to one another as a process that contributed to a child becoming overweight. Child feeding practices was the core category. The other categories were encouraged feeding, positive family perception, weight gain, observational/interventional triggers, and controlled feeding. Child-feeding practices involved: participants’ feeding behaviors; a child’s characteristics and inside/outside influences encouraging feeding; positive family perceptions as participants’ attitude towards a child’s growth and feeding; weight gain as children’s weight status; strategies used for controlling a child’s weight; and observation/interventional triggers as feelings, comments, and greetings toward a child’s weight. Encouraged feeding and family positive perception, were related and initiated child feeding practices. Several controlled feeding strategies were tried, but these were not intense or consistent enough to effect a change. Weight screening and family education programs for young children are needed to focus on proper feeding rather than emphasizing weight loss. The Sustain Weight Gain in Young Children model enables nurses to understand this process and to care for young children more effectively.
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