Health and fitness amongst middle-class teenagers

Mei-Li Roberts, Wendy J. Wills, Julia Lawton, Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Donna MacKinnon

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


There is a growing concern with improving the diet and health of young people in Scotland, particularly in light of the ‘obesity epidemic’. This paper is based on a qualitative study in Scotland which focuses on higher social class families with young teenagers who are overweight, obese and ‘normal’ weight. In-depth interviews were held with boys and girls aged 13-14 years and their parents in order to explore their diet and eating practices, perceptions of body weight/size and health-related activities. The aim of this paper is to introduce the study and findings related to health and fitness amongst these middle-class families.
Many of the young people were involved in after-school sports of some kind and emphasised the importance of leading active lives in order to be ‘healthy’. Some thought that if someone was overweight or ate junk food that they would still be healthy as long as they exercised, and that the health of an individual could be judged by how well they performed at sports. Exercise was also seen as a way to maintain weight and boys in particular talked about building up muscle. These findings will be discussed in context of the importance of class.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008
EventUKPHA 16th Annual Public Health Forum: Community Cohesion and Empowerment - Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Apr 20082 Apr 2008


ConferenceUKPHA 16th Annual Public Health Forum: Community Cohesion and Empowerment
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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