Year of Publication

2005

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

The purpose of this research is to explore screening and treatment patterns as well as the underlying provider confidence in their decision-making related to the overweight and obese child and adolescent patient. The screening and treatment of obesity in the child and adolescent population are affected by complex social implications and physical side effects. Without a clear consensus on screening, diagnosis and alternative treatment plans, healthcare providers will not maximize the opportunity to provide primary and secondary prevention to the growing epidemic.

Statistical analysis of secondary survey data was conducted to explore screening and treatment patterns as well as the underlying health care provider confidence in their decision making related to the overweight and obese child and adolescent patient.

The original investigators are comprised of the authors from the six published articles in Pediatrics (Vol. 110 No. 1 July 2002). These articles examined the results of a needs assessment eight page questionnaire consisting of 35 questions from three topic areas related to childhood and adolescent obesity (Area 1 focused on attitudes, perceived skills and training needs of providers. Area 2 addressed provider approach to assessment and treatment. Area 3 collected information pertaining to provider characteristics and practice information).

Results indicate that the majority of pediatric providers are concerned about the current status of childhood and adolescent obesity. Furthermore, perceived skill proficiency and interest in further education are influenced by provider’s belief that barriers to effective treatment exist. Barriers include lack of clinician time, lack or reimbursement, lack of parent involvement and patient motivation, lack of support services, futility of treatment, misinformed provider beliefs, need for further training, and years in practice. This highlights the fact that obesity is a multifaceted and complex condition that is difficult to manage in the pediatric population.

Many challenges exist in improving diagnosis and treatment practices, but provider interest in training provides an ample opportunity to address pertinent barriers and to develop practitioner guidelines, protocols, and educational tools.

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