Survey of Barriers and Facilitators to Engagement in a Multidisciplinary Healthy Lifestyles Program for Children
Wild CEK., O'Sullivan NA., Lee AC., Cave TL., Willing EJ., Cormack DM., Hofman PL., Anderson YC.
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.