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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2017, Article ID 9629748, 14 pages
Research Article

“Culture Is So Interspersed”: Child-Minders’ and Health Workers’ Perceptions of Childhood Obesity in South Africa

1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 905 South Goodwin Ave., 230 Bevier Hall MC-180, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
2University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 904 W. Nevada St., #1014, MC-081, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
3University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 904 W. Nevada St., #2004, MC-081, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Roger Figueroa; ude.sionilli@2reugifr

Received 7 September 2016; Revised 11 January 2017; Accepted 29 January 2017; Published 1 March 2017

Academic Editor: Sharon Herring

Copyright © 2017 Roger Figueroa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Forty-one million children globally are overweight or obese, with most rapid rate increases among low- and middle-income nations. Child-minders and health workers play a crucial role in obesity prevention efforts, but their perceptions of childhood obesity in low- and middle-income countries are poorly understood. This study aims to () explore child-minders and health workers’ perceptions of the causes, consequences, potential strategies, and barriers for childhood obesity prevention and intervention in Cape Town, South Africa and () to provisionally test the fit of a socioecological framework to explain these perceptions. Methods. Twenty-one interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed through analytic induction. Results. Participants identified multilevel factors and contexts, as well as potential consequences and priorities of interest in addressing childhood obesity. An adapted childhood obesity perceptions model was generated, which introduces an overarching cultural dimension embedded across levels of the socioecological framework. Conclusions. Culture plays a pivotal role in explaining obesogenic outcomes, and the results of this study demonstrate the need for further research investigating how obesity perceptions are shaped by cultural frames (e.g., social, political, and historical). Understanding the causes, consequences, and potential interventions to address obesity through a cultural lens is critical for promoting health in low- and middle-income nations.