Are school nurses effective in the fight against childhood obesity?

Jill Bunting, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. With childhood obesity on the rise in the United States, school nurses are faced with the task of preventing, identifying and treating obese children in their schools. This study reviews current literature and examines the effectiveness of the school nurse regarding obesity prevention and treatment services and the barriers they face. Methods. Ovid, Ebsco, Google Scholar and other professional websites were searched for school-based obesity interventions that included school nurses and that took place in the United States between 1996 and present day. This resulted in 8 studies. Results. Of the 8 studies identified, the majority were conducted in the Midwest, all of the studies were cross-sectional in design or qualitative in nature and only half of these studies were based off theoretical design. The most common barriers school nurses face include: lack of time, lack of support from both the school and parents, lack of confidence in counseling students and their parents and lack of specific guidelines for their role. Conclusions. This study further reflects the need for more research using experimental research designs to evaluate nurse-driven interventions and nurse-related policies for childhood obesity prevention and treatment, the need to create specific guidelines for school nurses, the need for further education for nurses relating to counseling, and the need for more support from the school and community for school-based obesity prevention.

Subject Area

Nursing|Public health|Health education

Recommended Citation

Bunting, Jill, "Are school nurses effective in the fight against childhood obesity?" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1506923.