New Study Identifies Parental Preferences for Primary-Care Weight-Management Strategies for Overweight Children

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Primary care visits for overweight children are important opportunities
to assess and treat overweight and obesity, but strategies are needed to
help providers maximize the effectiveness of these opportunities. A new
study examines parental perspectives on the most important
weight-management clinical practices for overweight children and whether
those preferences differ when parents disagree that their child is

The study, published in the latest issue of Academic Pediatrics,
consisted of surveys of parents of overweight children 2 to 18 years
old. The survey assessed the single most important thing providers can
do to improve weight status, parental agreement that their child is
overweight, parental rankings of American Academy of
Pediatrics–recommended clinical practices and the preferred follow-up

“We found that parents rank checking for weight-related problems as the
single-most important thing healthcare providers can do to help an
overweight child improve his or her weight status,” says Glenn
Flores, MD
, Distinguished Chair of Health Policy Research at the Medica
Research Institute
and the study’s senior author.

Childhood obesity is strongly associated with multiple problems, such as
high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, dysglycemia, poor health status and
emotional issues.

The research team found that of the 219 children studied, 36 percent
were overweight, 42 percent were obese and 22 percent were severely
obese. The team found that 16 percent of parents disagreed with their
provider’s assessment that their child was overweight.

The three highest-ranked clinical practices included:

  • “check for weight-related problems,”
  • “review growth chart” and
  • “recommend general dietary changes.”

Parents who disagreed with their children’s overweight assessments
ranked “review growth chart” as less important and “reducing screen
time” and “general activity changes” as more important. Parents who
disagree that their child is overweight want changes in how overweight
is assessed.

“Our findings suggest that using parent-preferred primary-care
weight-management strategies and tailoring these strategies to parents
may prove useful in addressing obesity and improving child weight
status,” says Flores.

About the Medica Research Institute

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health of underserved populations through contributing evidence that
informs high value health care and public policy. We do this through
independent, data-driven research that is placed in the public domain.
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Medica Research Institute
Greg Bury, 952-992-8437