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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Edith L. Dundon

Second Advisor

Cynthia S. Jacelon

Third Advisor

Lindiwe Sibeko

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this research study is to develop a model of social processes that influence a child being overweight. This qualitative research study utilized Grounded Theory as a methodology to collect and analyze data. Postpositivism and Symbolic interactionism were used as a philosophical basis in this study. Research samples were parents/caretakers who have overweight children seven months to three years of age, and visited the Out Patient Department at Ramathibodi Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand. Data collection was from interviews, observations, document reviews, and journal writings. Data analysis followed the Glaser’s GT approach, which included two steps, substantive and theoretical coding. The substantive coding was divided into two steps: open and selective coding. There were 13 caretakers and family members who took part in this research. There were 6 categories that emerged, related to each other as a process, that contributed to a child becoming overweight. Child- Feeding Practices (CFP) play a crucial role as a core category in the theoretical model, leading children to overfeeding and improper feeding based on age. As a result they were receiving more calories than their bodies needed. Two categories, Encouraged Feeding (EF) and Family Positive Perception (FPP), are related and initiate CFP. The children, who were overfed, were gradually increasing in weight (Weight gain, WG). Even though caretakers and family members realize that their child was heavier/larger either by holding them, being informed by health care providers, or by innocent greetings from neighbors/friends (Observational/Interventional Triggers - OIT), they still had a very hard time changing their improper feeding habits. Various Controlled Feeding (CF) strategies have been tried, but these strategies were not intense or consistent enough to effect a change. The levels of the six categories varied case by case and reacted to each other at different levels. Future interventions/programs need to be conducted on younger children, and should focus on promoting children’s healthy eating habits, rather than emphasizing weight loss. A policy of promoting healthy weight should be expanded to include school age children and toddlers, by the Thai Ministry of Public Health, to effectively prevent children from becoming overweight.