Gail Marchessault

University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Publications (3)3.24 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Differences in body image and dieting concerns were assessed in preadolescent boys and girls across the body mass index (BMI) spectrum. The hypothesis was that girls would express more concern with body size, report more dieting, and receive more advice than boys. In this cross-sectional descriptive study, age-appropriate figure drawings, the Children's Eating Attitudes Test (ChEAT), the Restraint Scale, and the Body Esteem Scale were administered to participants in the Study of Asthma, Genes and Environment, Manitoba. Responses were compared between genders and correlated with BMI percentiles. A total of 565 10- and 11-year-old children (321 boys) completed questionnaires. Overall, 39% of participants wanted to be thinner, and no significant gender differences based on weight were found. However, the use of figure drawings indicated that girls desired greater changes in body size (p=0.006). Girls had higher Restraint Scale scores (p=0.003), but no statistically significant differences were found in self-reported dieting, ChEAT, or Body Esteem Scale scores. Approximately 25% of children reported receiving frequent weight-related advice. Girls did not report this more often than did boys. Children in the lowest BMI percentile desired the greatest change in body shape and had the highest Restraint Scale scores. Key gender differences underline the importance of understanding children's attitudes toward body image, weight, and dieting.
    Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 09/2010; 71(3):e34-40. · 0.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Healthful lifestyle habits established in childhood may continue through adulthood. Such habits may also be effective in preventing or reversing overweight and obesity. However, little is known about children's perceptions of healthful eating and physical activity. Thus, we sought a better understanding of how children perceive healthful eating and physical activity. A purposeful selection was made of Winnipeg, Manitoba, boys (n=23) and girls (n=22) aged 11 to 12 years. The children were interviewed using a semi-structured, in-depth interview guide. Data were analyzed using thematic coding. Although healthful eating was seen as necessary for health, high-fat, high-sugar foods were a source of pleasure and enjoyed during social times. Physical activity was a way of spending time with friends, either through active play or watching sports. Boys viewed screen time and homework as barriers to physical activity, while girls identified no common barriers. Children viewed physical activity as easier than healthful eating, describing the former as "play" and "fun." Knowing how children think about food choices will further our understanding of the disconnect between nutrition knowledge and dietary behaviours. Understanding conflicting pressures that influence children's healthful lifestyles may enhance communication about these topics among parents, educators, and children.
    Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 01/2010; 71(1):19-23. · 0.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite understanding the physiologic effects of childhood asthma, less is known about how children perceive living with asthma. We undertook semistructured, in-depth interviews with 11 boys and 11 girls (all aged 11) drawn from a larger ongoing asthma study of Manitoba children born in 1995. All had asthma, as diagnosed by a pediatric allergist. We sought to further understand how children perceive asthma. Children spoke of feeling different and commonly used words such as "pain" and "hurt." We have categorized children's strategies to normalize their lives as (a) minimizing the health impact, (b) stressing normality, (c) emphasizing abilities, (d) making adaptations in daily living, and, (e) managing symptoms with medications. These findings suggest that aspects of other researchers' work regarding normalization efforts of children with various chronic diseases also apply in a chronic condition that is less obvious.
    Qualitative Health Research 12/2008; 19(1):94-104. · 2.19 Impact Factor