Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Childhood obesity is a prevalent subject of research currently, and many researchers have studied the effectiveness of school programs in battling obesity among students. This case study, utilizing ethnographic tools of observation, interviews, and investigation of artifacts, examines educators' perceptions of the role of the school in the prevention of this epidemic, how perceptions affect practices, and the barriers to prevention efforts. The lens of caring theory, social justice, and critical theory frame the analysis of how educators in a medium-sized elementary school contend with the problem of childhood obesity. Educators in this setting perceived their role in the prevention of childhood obesity as limited and tended to blame parents for the condition of obese students. Because of this perception, attempts at prevention were somewhat sporadic and individualistic in nature. Barriers included a lack of training in critical reflection and the stresses of mandated testing and budget cuts. Teachers and staff members cared for their obese students' well-being, but generally lacked the resources to help them. They were often uncomfortable discussing obesity with parents and tended to avoid the subject, and unfortunately, this conversation needs to occur in order to find help for their obese students.
This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.