This qualitative study aims to explore perspectives of Dutch children on the terminology healthcare professionals use when discussing weight.
Fourteen interviews and one focus group discussion were held with children (age 8-16) who were in care because of their weight.
This study illustrates that meanings of weight-related words are not fixed but context and situation specific. It revealed that meanings children assign to weight-related words are shaped by their experiences in the broader social context, especially at school, as well as with (previous) healthcare professionals. It pointed towards the importance of bedside manner, acquaintanceship, and support.
Healthcare professionals treating children because of their body weight are advised to invest in a good patient-caregiver relationship, pay attention to children’s previous (negative) social weight-related experiences, and reflect critically on their own preconceptions about body weight and the impact these preconceptions might have on their patient-caregiver relationships.