Managing childhood obesity
20 June 2007
Children with weight problems are rarely managed by their family doctors, and doctors are missing a vital opportunity to redress the obesity epidemic, new research from the NSW Centre for Overweight and Obesity has found.
The research carried out by the NSW Centre for Overweight and Obesity, shows that for every 200 GP visits in children aged 2- 17 years, around 60 of the children will be overweight, while only one of those children will be managed by their GP for their weight problem. The survey was released at the Healthy Lifestyle Forum in Canberra today.
The findings have been presented by Professor Louise Baur, Professor in the Discipline of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney and Chair of the Board of Directors of the NSW Centre for Overweight & Obesity at the Healthy Lifestyle Forum to combat childhood obesity in Parliament House, Canberra.
Professor Baur said, "GPs are keenly aware that childhood overweight has potentially serious medical consequences and are strongly committed to working with parents, adolescents and children to prevent and manage weight problems. But this study shows family doctors could be supported to do much more to assess and manage weight problems in children, about 25% of whom are overweight or obese."
Study author Michelle Cretikos said, "We believe that GPs have much to offer in the way of simple, practical and reliable advice for children and their parents."
The review of GP management of weight problems in children also found:
- Parents rarely raise concerns about their child's weight with their GP
- Most GPs do not weigh children regularly, partly because of concern that parents and children may become upset
- For the overweight children they do manage GPs provide appropriate lifestyle advice and counselling on physical activity and healthy eating practices
The study was conducted in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's Australian General Practice Statistics and Classification Centre at the University of Sydney.
Contact: Felicity Moffat
Phone: 0418 677 701