HealthDay News — Less than one-quarter of parents with overweight children recall their health care provider telling them that their child is overweight, according to study results study published online first in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
“There appear to be some improvements in identification of obesity over time, but many parents who could potentially benefit from a doctor or health professional’s recognition of obesity are not being told in a way they recall,” Eliana M. Perrin, MD, MPH, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote.
They analyzed survey data from the parents of 4,985 children (aged 2 to 15 years) who had a BMI at or above the 85th percentile based on measured height and weight that were collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2008. The children were categorized as overweight, obese, or severely obese (<95th but ≥85th, <99th but ≥95th, or ≥99th BMI percentile, respectively) based on CDC guidelines.
The percentage of parents who reported that a health professional told them their child was overweight increased significantly from 19.4% in 1999 to 29.1% in 2007 to 2008, with recall higher among parents with older children, Hispanics and those with more frequent health care visits, the researchers found.
From 1999 to 2008, 22% of parents whose children had a BMI ≥85 percentile remembered being told their child was overweight. Increasing obesity severity was strongly associated with greater odds that a parent would report a clinician notified them that their child was obese. Despite this trend, even among parents of severely obese children, only 58% recalled being told their child was obese by a healthcare provider.
“Further research is necessary to determine where and why communication of weight status breaks down and how effective appropriate communication of weight status is in motivating families toward healthier living,” the researchers wrote.