Primary Care Nurses and Doctors Views of Managing Childhood Obesity in Saudi Arabia

Obesity is increasingly recognized as a serious and escalating public health problem in the world today, contributing to increased morbidity and premature mortality. The rise in childhood obesity is of special concern. It is acknowledged that obesity in childhood can lead to many lifelong health consequences and that intervention in childhood and early adolescence is probably the most critical time to reverse this trend. In Saudi Arabia, increasing economic development has led to significant changes in lifestyle and nutritional habits over the past few decades, with obesity affecting one in six children aged 6 to 18 years old. Clearly there is a need for the development and implementation of childhood obesity prevention programs in this population, with an emphasis on primary care intervention, allowing practitioners to initiate structured obesity prevention programs.Following thematic analysis, the findings from this study indicated that they did feel they possess adequate knowledge in relation to the role of primary care services in health promotion strategies directed towards childhood obesity. They felt that primary care did play a unique role in the identification and commencement of treatment of childhood obesity. The role of multi-disciplinary team members was acknowledged as fundamental in supporting and developing primary care practitioners in managing childhood obesity but that a multidisciplinary perspective is also required. It is therefore recommended that interventions incorporate dietitians and other staff more actively in order to ensure the effectiveness of interventions for childhood obesity in Saudi Arabia within a Primary Care setting.More than 43 million children worldwide, below the age of five, were diagnosed as overweight in 2010 (WHO, 2011). Obesity amongst infants and youth is related to a concurrent boost in rises associated with chronic diseases (Abalkhail, 2002).