Do physicians discuss needed diet and nutrition health topics with adolescents?
ABSTRACT Preventive services guidelines recommend screening all adolescents for diet habits, physical activity and growth, counseling underweight teens about body image and dieting patterns, and counseling overweight or obese teens about dietary habits and exercise. In this study, we assess whether adolescents at risk for overweight or for eating disorders have discussed recommended diet and nutrition topics with their physicians.
We surveyed 14-18-year-old adolescents who had been seen for well care in primary care pediatric and family medicine practices. Adolescents self-reported their weight, height, body image, dieting habits, and issues they had discussed with their clinicians. Body mass index (BMI) was used to define those "at risk for an eating disorder" (< 5% BMI), "at risk of becoming overweight" (85%-95% BMI), and "overweight" (> 95% BMI).
A total of 8384 adolescents completed surveys (72% completion rate). Nearly one-third of adolescents were "at risk" or overweight. Females were less likely to be overweight than males (9.4% vs. 15.7%; p < .001). Although 26.4% were attempting to lose weight, only 12.2% of all teens were actually overweight. Exercise and restricting intake were the preferred methods of weight loss. Physicians routinely discussed adolescents' weight during visits, and were more likely to discuss it with those "at risk" (p < .001). Body image was more often discussed with girls than with boys (52% vs. 44.6%, p < .001) and with those at risk (51.6% vs. 45.5%; p < .001). Discussion of healthy eating and weight loss occurred more often with adolescents "at risk" for becoming overweight (p < .001).
Many adolescents are at risk for being overweight or are currently overweight, confirming the importance of clinicians discussing diet and nutrition health topics with all teens. Many adolescents also misclassify their body image, and hence perceive their body image to be different from their actual BMI; clinicians should discuss body image with all adolescents, not just those at risk for eating disorders. Better interventions are needed to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity to all adolescents.
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- Journal of Adolescent Health 12/2006; 39(6):785-787. DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.09.022 · 2.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The goal was to examine the association of physician counseling about being overweight with attempted weight loss, dietary, and physical activity/inactivity behaviors of US teens. We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 for 16- to 19-year-old subjects with BMI for age of > or = 85th percentile (n = 716). Regression methods were used to examine the association of physician advice about teen weight status with covariate-adjusted differences in reported weight loss, dietary, and physical activity behaviors. Approximately 51% of overweight teens (BMI for age of > or = 95th percentile) but only 17% of at-risk teens (BMI for age of 85th to < 95th percentile) reported that they had been informed by a doctor about being overweight. More than 60% of those told by a doctor about being overweight had attempted weight loss in the past year, relative to 41% of those who did not receive this advice. Teens informed of their overweight status reported significantly smaller amounts of all foods and beverages and lower energy intake per kilogram of body weight in the 24-hour recall, relative to the comparison group. Physical activity and inactivity behaviors were unrelated to professional counseling about overweight status. Physician counseling regarding adolescent overweight status was associated with a positive impact on attempted weight loss and moderate dietary behaviors.PEDIATRICS 02/2007; 119(1):e142-7. DOI:10.1542/peds.2006-1116 · 5.30 Impact Factor