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Horm Res Paediatr. 2013;80(2):86-91. doi: 10.1159/000351463. Epub 2013 Aug 10.

Internet informs parents about growth hormone.

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Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., USA.



Parents' knowledge influences decisions regarding medical care for their children.


Parents of pediatric primary care patients aged 9-14 years, irrespective of height, participated in open focus groups (OFGs). Moderators asked the question, 'How do people find out about growth hormone (GH)?' Because many parents cited the Internet, the top 10 results from the Google searches of 'growth hormone children' and 'parents of children who take growth hormone' were examined. Three investigators independently performed content analysis and then reached a consensus. The results were tabulated via summary statistics.


Eighteen websites were reviewed, most with the purpose of education (56%) and many funded by commercial sources (44%). GH treatment information varied, with 33% of the sites containing content only about US FDA-approved indications. Fifty-six percent of the sites included information about psychosocial benefits from treatment, with 44% acknowledging them as controversial. Although important to OFG participants, risks and costs were each omitted from 39% of the websites.


Parents often turn to the Internet for GH-related information for their children, although its content may be incomplete and/or biased. Clinicians may want to provide parents with tools for critically evaluating Internet-based information, a list of prereviewed websites, or their own educational materials.

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