Pediatricians' approach to obesity prevention counseling with their patients

Michael J. Gilbert*, Michael F. Fleming

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a primary pediatric obesity prevention policy statement. Its focus is directed toward the health supervision visit. We used qualitative research to determine physicians' approaches toward obesity prevention within this visit. Design: Twenty-four University of Wisconsin pediatricians participated in a qualitative study consisting of data transcribed from audio-taped interviews. Open-ended questions investigated specific health supervision practices pertaining to obesity prevention, and major themes were identified. Results: The pediatrician's role in obesity prevention is education and detection. Pediatricians provide information on proper nutrition, physical activity, media time, and parenting skills. These pediatricians routinely discuss (1) junk food, (2) balanced diets, (3) nutritional requirements, and (4) parental techniques to promote healthy approaches to food. They discuss methods to increase physical activity and routinely recommend limitations to media time. However, only a third use body mass index (BMI) charts during their health supervision appointments and many are uncertain how to tailor guidance to children with obesity risk factors. Conclusions: Pediatricians follow many of the obesity prevention guidelines. Further evidence is needed to understand the effectiveness of their education and detection methods. Potential areas for improvement include use of BMI charts and counseling with specific obesity prevention in mind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
JournalWisconsin medical journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 18 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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