Big hearts, small hands: a focus group study exploring parental food portion behaviours

Article English OPEN
Kristina Curtis ; Louise Atkins ; Katherine Brown (2017)
  • Publisher: BMC
  • Journal: BMC Public Health, volume 17 (issn: 1471-2458, eissn: 1471-2458)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC5604285, doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4711-z
  • Subject: Portion sizes | Research Article | RA1-1270 | Public aspects of medicine | Parental dietary behaviours | Childhood weight management | Behaviour change | Health promotion | Behaviour change, Childhood obesity prevention, Childhood weight management, Health promotion, Parental dietary behaviours, Portion sizes, Theory | Theory | Childhood obesity prevention

Abstract Background The development of healthy food portion sizes among families is deemed critical to childhood weight management; yet little is known about the interacting factors influencing parents’ portion control behaviours. This study aimed to use two synergistic theoretical models of behaviour: the COM-B model (Capability, Opportunity, Motivation – Behaviour) and Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to identify a broad spectrum of theoretically derived influences on parents’ portion control behaviours including examination of affective and habitual influences often excluded from prevailing theories of behaviour change. Methods Six focus groups exploring family weight management comprised of one with caseworkers (n = 4), four with parents of overweight children (n = 14) and one with parents of healthy weight children (n = 8). A thematic analysis was performed across the dataset where the TDF/COM-B were used as coding frameworks. Results To achieve the target behaviour, the behavioural analysis revealed the need for eliciting change in all three COM-B domains and nine associated TDF domains. Findings suggest parents’ internal processes such as their emotional responses, habits and beliefs, along with social influences from partners and grandparents, and environmental influences relating to items such as household objects, interact to influence portion size behaviours within the home environment. Conclusion This is the first study underpinned by COM-B/TDF frameworks applied to childhood weight management and provides new targets for intervention development and the opportunity for future research to explore the mediating and moderating effects of these variables on one another.
  • References (82)
    82 references, page 1 of 9

    1. Tabacchi G, Giammanco S, La Guardia M, Giammanco M. A review of the literature and a new classification of the early determinants of childhood obesity: from pregnancy to the first years of life. Nutr Res [Internet]. 2007 Oct [cited 2012 Oct 23];27(10):587-604 Available from: http://www.

    2. Knowlden A, Sharma M. A Feasibility and Efficacy Randomized Controlled Trial of an Online Preventative Program for Childhood Obesity: Protocol for the EMPOWER Intervention. JMIR Res Protoc. 2012 Jun 21 [cited 2012 Oct 15];1(1): e5 Available from:

    3. Birch LL. Child feeding practices and the etiology of obesity. Obesity (Silver Spring) [Internet]. 2006 Mar;14(3):343-4 Available from: http://www. pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract

    4. Skelton Ja, Buehler C, Irby MB, Grzywacz JG. Where are family theories in family-based obesity treatment?: conceptualizing the study of families in pediatric weight management. Int J Obes (Lond) [Internet]. 2012 Jul [Cited 2012 Nov 13];36(7):891-900. Available from: pubmed/22531090.

    5. Skouteris H, Mccabe M, Ricciardelli LA, Milgrom J, Baur LA, Aksan N, et al. Early Child Development and Care Parent - child interactions and obesity prevention : a systematic review of the literature. 2012;(August):37-41.

    6. Hingle MD, O'Connor TM, Dave JM, Baranowski T. Parental involvement in interventions to improve child dietary intake: a systematic review. Prev Med (Baltim) [Internet]. 2010 Aug [cited 2012 Nov 16];51(2):103-111 Available from: 2906688&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract

    7. Michie S, van Stralen MM, West R. The behaviour change wheel: A new method for characterising and designing behaviour change interventions. Implement Sci [Internet]. 2011 Jan [cited 2011 Jul 19];6(1):42 Available from: pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract

    8. Baranowski T, Cullen KW, Nicklas T, Thompson D, Baranowski J. Are current health behavioral change models helpful in guiding prevention of weight gain efforts? Obes Res [Internet]. 2003 Oct;11 Suppl:23S-43S. Available from:

    9. West R. Theory of Addiction. Br J Psychiatry [Internet]. 2007 Sep 1 [cited 2014 Mar 13];191(3):273-4 Available from: content/long/191/3/273-a

    10. Glanz K, Bishop DB. The role of behavioral science theory in development and implementation of public health interventions. Annu Rev Public Health [Internet]. 2010 Jan [Cited 2014 Jul 18];31:399-418. Available from: http://

  • Metrics
    views in OpenAIRE
    views in local repository
    downloads in local repository

    The information is available from the following content providers:

    From Number Of Views Number Of Downloads
    UCL Discovery - IRUS-UK 0 3
Share - Bookmark