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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2003 Apr;42(3):235-45.

Survey of physician attitudes and practices related to pediatric obesity.

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  • 1Child and Family Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University Medical School, Coro West 2, 593 Eddy Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, USA.


The purpose of this study was to survey physicians regarding their attitudes and practices related to the treatment of pediatric obesity in a primary care setting. Surveys were sent to physicians who were members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians practicing in the Southern New England area (Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island). The 14-item survey consisted of three main areas of focus: attitudes toward obesity, treatment and referral approaches, and barriers to addressing weight concerns in children and adolescents. Physicians estimated that 27.7% of their adolescent and 23% of their child patients are overweight. The frequency with which physicians address weight issues with both child and adolescent patients appears to increase incrementally with the patient's level of overweight. When addressing obesity, one fourth of physicians think that they are not at all or only slightly competent, while 20% report feeling not at all or only slightly comfortable. These findings suggest that physicians would benefit from additional training and education regarding safe and efficacious intervention strategies for pediatric obesity, to effectively integrate the discussion of weight issues into the primary care setting.

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