Xanne Janssen has been awarded $25,000 over two years – hear from her about the study she is conducting.
Xanne Janssen is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychological Sciences and Health, at the University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom. Her project, “Parents’ barriers and facilitators to building better days” has been awarded the 2022 QSR Early Career Research Grant of $25,000, despite stiff competition from around the world.
We spoke to Xanne and her research assistant, Andrew Dalziell, at the University – you can see the full video here.
Her mixed methods study aims to help families, particularly those in deprived areas, to reduce obesity in their children by developing a “better day”. The concept of a “better day” is based on the World Health Organization’s approach to preventing childhood obesity in under-5s using a simple 24-hour movement behaviors framework which assesses sleep, physical and sedentary activities. Janssen’s research aims to contribute to our understanding of delivering the “better day” concept – and the barriers which stand in parents’ way.
In her research, personalized activity profiles will be built from data retrieved from activity trackers which families (parent plus child under 5 in deprived areas of the UK) will wear during the study. “We're using accelerometers”, says Janssen, “an advanced pedometer that the children will wear on the hip. It tells us exactly how active they were, how much time they spent sitting, and also how much time they slept each day.”
This quantitative study will be augmented with qualitative insights from individual and group discussion tasks over 6 weeks in a closed Facebook group. Janssen says, “Previous research in other fields has shown that this asynchronous remote method really helps engage hard-to-reach participants. Young families often won't have time to come to the university to participate in research. Giving them methods where they can just engage whenever they want on an online platform will hopefully increase participation.”
Dalziell adds, “The quantitative data from the accelerometry give us the activity and lifestyle behaviors of the children. Then, the qualitative data gives us the experiences to better understand what the facilitators and barriers are to activity. The use of NVivo to bring both quantitative and qualitative data together is fantastic, as it would otherwise take an inordinate amount of time to draw that data out and to get understanding from it. NVivo allows us to do that very efficiently and accurately.”
Says Janssen, “The grant means a lot to me. It sets me up to become an independent researcher and establish my name in this field. But I hope we’re also going to find out ways in which we can support families, especially in deprived areas, to help their children establish healthy lifestyle behaviors. I believe that if we give children the opportunity to establish those behaviors early on in life, it will set them up for a great future.”