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Obesity Treatment – More Than Food

The proponents of the study, Anders Lindelof, Claus Nielsen, and Birthe Pedersen wanted to explore how obese adolescents, and their parents view obesity. This qualitative study is a good example of phenomenological–hermeneutic approach. The researchers developed a qualitative study based on the phenomenological approach, because they examined real life situations. They also collated information from individuals, and they were also able to describe their experiences. The approach can be described as interpretative of the circumstances experienced by the participants. In other words, they are looking into the experiences of the target group.

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At the same time, the researchers needed to interact with the participants of the study. They were able to gather data, and interact with people through the use of interviews. However, the researchers went beyond collecting data, they also interpreted the data collected using the hermeneutics framework. Thus, it is a combined phenomenological-hermeneutic approach. It is also a hermeneutics approach, because the researchers needed to interpret the historical circumstances of the parents and their children, in order to understand the context of their statements.

In this particular case, the proponents of the study wanted to find out “the barriers, and motivational factors that influence obese adolescents’ ability to lose weight” (Lindelof, Nielsen, & Pedersen, 2010). They were able to accomplish this goal by utilizing field observations; semi-structured interviews with the parents; and semi-structured interviews with the adolescent children.

Field observation was made possible by gathering all the research subjects in one area. This goal was made possible by enrolling them in summer camp. The said camp exposed the obese participants to heightened levels of physical activity. By establishing trusting relationships with the participants and their parents. As a result, they were able to collate personal information from them.

They interviewed 15 teenagers. The adolescents’ age range was between the ages of 13-16. The researchers discovered that they have unhealthy eating habits. However, the participants were not aware that they have unhealthy eating habits, and that this is the root cause of their obesity. Nevertheless, they were willing to undergo a lifestyle change. These teenagers even believed that their current level of exercise is moderate; therefore, they thought that they are on their way to a healthier lifestyle.

The researchers learned that the children blamed their parents for their obesity. The researchers turned their attention to the parents. They discovered that the parents blamed their children why they were obese. The adolescent children blamed their parents for providing unhealthy food. Parents made the counterargument that they did everything in their power to help their children lose weight, but concluded that their children lack the willpower to make the necessary lifestyle change.

Researchers concluded that due to underlying issues, obese adolescents failed to achieve their goals in terms of losing weight. They also discovered that exercise and diet are not enough to solve the problem of obesity. For example, parents and offspring are not in agreement, when it comes to what constitutes a healthy diet. At the same time, obese adolescents must realize that overeating is not just the result of hunger pangs, because it is also due to emotional problems as well.

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A healthier physical body is made possible if the participants learn deal with emotional and psychological issues. They need to work with their parents on specific issues related to the interaction between health, emotions, exercise, food intake, relationships, and conflict resolution. In other words, these factors are interrelated. If they will only focus on the willpower needed to change their lifestyle, they will fail.


Lindelof, A., Nielsen, C., & Pedersen, B. (2010). Obesity treatment – more than food and exercise: A qualitative study exploring obese adolescents’ and their parents’ view on the former’s obesity. Web.

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