Childhood Obesity Research Methodology

Extraneous Variables

The extraneous variables under this study are dieting aimed at weight reduction, exercising for weight loss, using vomiting pills or laxatives to lose weight, and taking drugs for weight loss. To rule out extraneous variables, randomization will be used. It will equate groups of participants and ensure that all of them have an equal chance of playing a part in the study.


This study will use questionnaires designed for measuring weight status and dietary behaviors. Even though measures of height, weight, and dietary intake can produce the most reliable and accurate results, their use in the large population-based research is limited due to the high costs (Leatherdale and Laxer, 2013). Moreover, they require obtaining consent; therefore, conducting acting consent procedures would not be feasible.

On the other hand, COMPASS’s protocols involve passive procedures for obtaining consent. According to the study conducted by Leatherdale and Laxer, COMPASS questionnaires are highly reliable. However, even though they meet both one-week and two-week test retests of self-reported measures of body height and weight, there is significant variability in dietary behaviors (2013). The data from the same study suggests that there are discrepancies between actual and self-reported measures of weight and height; therefore, the validity of the COMPASS questionnaires is questionable (Leatherdale and Laxer, 2013).

Online tool eaTracker is an alternative to traditional questionnaires; however, its validity and reliability are not sufficient, even in comparison to COMPASS instruments (Leatherdale and Laxer, 2013). The validity and reliability of developed instruments would be tested by comparison of the derived measure for BMI and the self-reported data.


Wellness, Academics & You (WAY) is a program aimed at the health improvement of children from kindergarten to fifth grade. It is the class-based course that provides students with a multidisciplinary series of resources that would help them to understand the state of their health and health-related habits, explore the ways to make informed decisions about personal wellness, and resist peer pressure related to risky health behaviors (WAY, n.d.).

WAY incorporates physical activity and health education into the school program to meet national health and education standards (WAY, n.d.). It also embeds language, mathematics, and arts into the core classroom. WAY provides educators with the materials and instruments necessary to alter students’ attitudes and make long-lasting changes in their behavior. The program facilitates communication between school and home (WAY, n.d.).

Data Collection

Data will be collected with the use of a web survey. The respondents will be required to fill in a form in the specifically designed online questionnaire (ESRC, 2007). It has many advantages over the e-mail data collection method. The online survey does not require the process of saving, reattaching, or opening documents, thus making it much easier to complete (ESRC, 2007). Participants in the survey would only have to fill it in and hit the ‘submit’ button.

Moreover, the questionnaires could be embellished with the use of special software. It could significantly increase the participation rate by making the survey more engaging for the students. The navigation of the questionnaires might be designed intuitively, thus allowing participants to skip instructions. The data from web surveys could be downloaded into the information analysis package (ESRC, 2007). Considering that the surveys will be conducted at school, not all students might have e-mail addresses; therefore, the use of the web questionnaires is recommended.


ESRC. (2007). Methods of Data Collection in Social Surveys. Web.

Leatherdale, S., & Laxer, R. (2013). Reliability and validity of the weight status and dietary intake measures in the COMPASS questionnaire: are the self-reported measures of body mass index (BMI) and Canada’s food guide servings robust? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10(1), 42.

WAY. (n.d.). Wellness, Academics & You Series. Web.