'Cards' help parent talk child's weight

Dec. 26, 2011 at 1:16 AM
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EDMONTON, Alberta, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Researchers in Canada say parents can use a deck of cards they created with conversation starters to help them discuss their child's weight with doctors.

Study co-investigators Mandi Newton and Arya Sharma, as well as medical graduate student Carla Farnesi, of the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry said the conversation cards are to help parents broach the subject of their child's weight with healthcare professionals.

The researchers carried out interviews with various healthcare professionals and parents of children with weight-management issues and found parents are less apt to work with healthcare professionals in certain situations.

The study, published in the journal Patient Education and Counseling, found parents took offense at use of the term obese, healthcare professionals who seem disrespectful or apathetic, and healthcare professionals who determine goals and action plans for the child without consulting the parents.

All of these dynamics can negatively affect the willingness of the parents to be engaged, follow medical advice or return for follow-up appointments, the researchers noted.

Meanwhile, healthcare professionals acknowledged they were sometimes overly eager to help, and found it difficult to step back and let the families be more involved in the decision making.

The cards are scheduled to be tested in January at the Alberta Health Services Pediatric Centre for Weight and Health.

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