What is it about?

Pediatricians can be an extremely helpful resource in identifying and intervening in cases of childhood obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has established guidelines recommending that pediatricians "prescribe" weight management follow-up within 4 months of their well child visit for children with concerns related to overweight/obesity. Despite this, these follow-ups do not routinely get prescribed by primary care providers. In fact, the current study included a total of 1339 children who met criteria for receiving a weight management follow-up recommendation due to having a body mass index at or above the 85th percentile. However, only 27% of these youth (365 children) were prescribed weight management follow-up by their primary care doctor. Youth who were older (i.e., 9-12 years) and had obesity (body mass index at or above the 95th percentile) were more likely to be prescribed weight management follow-up. Of those who were prescribed weight management follow-up, results also showed that only 27% of youth (97 children) scheduled appointments and about one in eight children (47 youth) returned to their primary care office for this follow-up visit within 6 months of their well child visit. Youth who were older, of non-Black race, and received their follow-up within 2 months or less were more likely to return or their visit.

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Why is it important?

Results suggest many primary care providers are not following AAP recommendations regarding weight management follow-up between well child visits. Results also suggest significant barriers to follow-through of visits when prescribed to patients and families. Understanding barriers to pediatrician engagement in obesity intervention efforts is crucial, as are efforts to engage and motivate families to follow through with these recommendations. This is also particularly true to patients from low income and minoritized groups, who are faced with greater health disparities and are exposed to more systemic factors which contribute poorer outcomes and comorbidities. Results also suggest it may be important to prescribe follow-ups in shorter intervals (i.e., within 2 months instead of 4 months) to improve patient return and the likelihood youth receive weight management follow-up.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Giving “prescriptions” for paediatric weight management follow‐up in primary care, Clinical Obesity, March 2021, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/cob.12448.
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