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Researchers develop 'conversation cards' to broach subject of pediatric weight management
Date:12/12/2011

Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have created a deck of cards with conversation starters about sensitive and informational topics related to weight, that parents can use to guide their discussions when talking about their child's weight management with health professionals.

Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta created these 'conversation cards' based on their findings in a recently published paper in the peer-reviewed journal Patient Education and Counseling.

Their study revealed that a family-based approach, where parents are key players in developing an action plan with their child's health-care professional, is key to building rapport, trust and success for everyone involved.

In their study the researchers carried out interviews with various health-care professionals and parents of children with weight-management problems. The study showed that parents are less apt to work with health-care professionals in certain scenarios. Parents took offence to the use of the term obese, health-care professionals who seem disrespectful or apathetic, and health-care 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 study noted.

Health-care 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 process, said the paper.

"What we found is relationships are fundamental to maintaining that contact, in supporting families to make healthy changes," says pediatric medical researcher Geoff Ball, the principal investigator who worked alongside co-investigators Mandi Newton and Arya Sharma, as well as medical graduate student Carla Farnesi, on the research study. '/>"/>

Contact: Raquel Maurier
raquel.maurier@ualberta.ca
780-492-5986
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

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