“He’s not fat, he just has asthma”: A qualitative study exploring weight management in families living with pediatric asthma

Rebecca Clarke, Gemma Heath, Prasad Nagakumar, Helen Pattison, Claire Farrow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Children and young people living with asthma have an increased risk of overweight/obesity, leading to increased severity of asthma symptoms. Weight management has been recommended to improve asthma symptoms, however, there is limited understanding of how this is experienced or how children and young people with asthma and their families wish to be supported. The aim of this study was to explore parents and children/young people’s views and experiences of managing weight while living with asthma, and to identify acceptable strategies for support.

Methods: A qualitative methodological approach was taken to facilitate rich understanding of families’ insights into weight management while living with asthma. In-depth interviews were conducted with nine families living with pediatric asthma (n = 9 parents, 9 young people). Data were analyzed using a Framework approach.

Results: Findings indicated that family engagement with weight management behaviors was primarily influenced by perceptions of risk regarding asthma outcomes and beliefs about asthma control. Families also reported weight management engagement to be influenced by perceptions of the food environment, perceptions of the exercise environment (e.g. weather, anticipated social outcomes) and the availability of weight management support. Participants sought tailored support which gave consideration to the asthma-obesity interaction. It was suggested that this would help reduce perceptions of weight stigma in consultations, thereby supporting behavioral changes.

Conclusions: Individualized weight management plans that consider families concerns about asthma-related risk are needed to manage weight in children and young people living with asthma.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Asthma
Early online date1 Sept 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funding: This study was co-funded by the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity and Aston University, grant number BCHRF430.


  • Respiratory
  • management
  • obesity
  • pediatrics
  • qualitative research


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