The diamond level health promoting schools (DLHPS) program for reduced child obesity in Thailand: lessons learned from interviews and focus groups

Jaruwan Phaitrakoon; Arpaporn Powwattana; Sunee Lagampan; Jeeranun Klaewkla
June 2014
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition;Jun2014, Vol. 23 Issue 2, p293
Academic Journal
Overweight and obesity prevalence among children is increasing globally. Health promoting school policy has been initiated in Thailand to tackle this problem. The schools that best conduct obesity management programs are rated as diamond level health promoting schools (DLHPS). However, the methods used by these schools and their efficacies have not been well-documented. This qualitative study aims to analyze the processes and activities used by four DLHPSs in obesity management programs. In-depth interviews were used to obtain information from school directors, teachers, and cooks, whereas focus group discussions were used for students. School-based obesity management programs have resulted from health promoting school policy and the increasing prevalence of overweight students. Teamwork has been a key strategy in program implementation. Policy diffusion and division of labor have been effected by school directors. A monitoring process is put in place to ensure program delivery. The most evident success factor in the present study has been intersectoral cooperation. Challenges have included confusion about the criteria in obtaining the DLHPS status, parental involvement, and students' resistance to consume vegetables and other healthy foods. From the student focus groups discussions, three activities were most valued: class health and nutrition learning; provision of healthy foods and drinks, together with removal of soft drinks and seasoning from the cafeteria; and exercise for health. Intersectoral cooperation is the key success factor for the operationality of DLHPS, especially in making healthy foods available and physical activity the norm, at school and home.


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