Background: Body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to the 85th percentile for age and sex is considered overweight in the pediatric population. Pediatric obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), obesity prevalence has tripled over the past fifty years; one in five school-aged children has a diagnosis of obesity. The purpose of this study is to survey caregivers’ perceptions and concerns about their child’s weight, as well as assess patient and caregiver interest in a comprehensive healthy lifestyle program.
Methods: This IRB approved study conducted a ten-question survey of patients aged two to seventeen who presented to the Beaumont Children’s Hospital Pediatric Outpatient Clinic between November 2020 and June 2021. Inclusion criteria were patients aged 2-17 whose parents voluntarily completed the survey. Exclusion criteria were children under two years of age, over 17 years of age, and parents unable to complete the survey due to language barrier or incomplete surveys. Surveys were provided to the families by office staff upon clinic arrival. Responses were recorded in Microsoft Excel. As a final step the medical history was verified by a physician.
Results: Of 204 surveys administered, 156 met the inclusion criteria and were included for analysis. The average reported age was 8 years old and 83 of 156 (53%) total participants were female. Seventy-four of 156 (47%) had a BMI greater than or equal to the 85th percentile; 57 out of 74 (77%) met the criteria for obesity. Nineteen of the 74 (26%) parents endorsed concern regarding their child's weight. All 19 parents that expressed concern over their child’s weight had children that met the criteria for obesity. Three of 17 (18%) parents of overweight, but not obese, children expressed interest in having their child participate in a healthy lifestyle program, while 25 of 57 (44%) parents with obese children expressed interest in having their child participate in a healthy lifestyle program.
Conclusion: Twenty-six percent of surveyed parents with overweight children reported concern regarding their child’s weight. Forty-four percent of parents with obese children reported an interest in participating in a healthy lifestyle program, suggesting that availability of such interventions could lead to improved health outcomes. This study highlights the lack of parental recognition of the detrimental implications of childhood obesity and demonstrates an opportunity to investigate health literacy barriers in pediatric obesity.
Abdo D, Rogers R, Edlibi S, Pollak AM, Shubeck S, Owusu-Asare C, Wassef R, Mychaliska KP. Pediatric obesity: a survey study of patients and caregivers' concern and interest in specialized programs. Abstract presented at: American Academy of Pediatrics. AAP Experience Virtual 2021 National Conference & Exhibition. 2021 Oct 8-11; virtual.