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Niki Newman 2007



To explore and describe data from previous research on obesity in primary school children and to evaluate the role schools have in prevention, in order to make recommendations to address this problem.


This dissertation is a secondary analysis of research on obesity in primary school children. The methodology uses 'secondary source' research with a mixed qualitative-quantitative approach. Existing data is re-examined, critically appraised, and findings from relevant studies evaluated so recommendations can be formulated.


School-based interventions designed to prevent obesity in childhood have had a disappointing impact overall, however, primary schools can have a significant impact on promoting positive nutrition and physical activity behaviours, as well as preventing obesity in children. The most significant gains are made when efforts are made to address the current obesity-promoting environment in which primary school children live and learn.


Obesity in childhood has increased at a dramatic pace all over the world, in industrialised and in many developing countries. The scale of the obesity epidemic and its adverse impact on health, translates into the need for urgent action. Primary schools are an appropriate setting to prevent childhood obesity in New Zealand. The challenge is to develop school-based intervention programmes which address environmental determinants of obesity and are comprehensive and sustainable.

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