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Objective: To understand facilitators and barriers to engagement in a multidisciplinary assessment and intervention program for children and adolescents with obesity, particularly for Māori, the Indigenous people of New Zealand. Methods: Whānau Pakari participants and caregivers (n = 71, 21% response rate) referred to the family-based healthy lifestyles program in Taranaki, New Zealand, were asked to participate in a confidential survey, which collected self-reported attendance levels and agreement with statements around service accessibility and appropriateness and open-text comments identifying barriers and facilitators to attendance. Results: Self-reported attendance levels were higher when respondents reported sessions to be conveniently located (P = .03) and lower when respondents considered other priorities as more important for their family (P = .02). Māori more frequently reported that past experiences of health care influenced their decision to attend (P = .03). Facilitators included perceived convenience of the program, parental motivation to improve child health, and ongoing support from the program. Conclusions and Implications: Program convenience and parental and/or self-motivation to improve health were facilitators of attendance. Further research is required to understand the relationship between past experiences with health care and subsequent engagement with services.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

Publication Date





528 - 534