Survey Finds Barriers to Treating Childhood Obesity; July 2002 Issue of Pediatrics Publishes Results

Analyzing and publishing the results of a children's obesity treatment needs assessment

The International Life Sciences Institute Center for Health Promotion published six papers on data from a survey of health care practitioners regarding the assessment and treatment of childhood obesity in a July 2002 special supplement to Pediatrics.

Key Results: Under the grant, the Institute accomplished the following:

  • Distributed the supplement to more than 69,000 health care professionals worldwide and offered access online.

Key Findings: The key findings and recommendations reported in the supplement include the following:

  • The majority of practitioners are concerned about the consequences of pediatric obesity, but report barriers to treating it, including lack of parent involvement, lack of patient motivation and lack of support services.
  • In general, pediatricians, nutritionists and nurse practitioners indicate that overweight children and adolescents are at risk for chronic disease, need treatment for obesity and are more likely to respond to treatment than adults are.
  • The most common areas in which practitioners felt they had low proficiency were using behavioral management strategies, providing guidance in parenting techniques and addressing family conflicts.
  • Although 40 percent of registered dietitians frequently assess obesity with the body mass index (BMI), less than 20 percent of pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioners do so.
  • Professional education must address management of childhood obesity.
  • Developing checklists, tools to assess BMI, and other informational materials will help practitioners incorporate assessment of childhood overweight into standard office visits.

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