Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Color-coded chart improves parents’ understanding of body mass index (BMI)

18.09.2009
In the study, published in the September/October 2009 issue of journal Academic Pediatrics, a sample of 163 parents of children seen at pediatric clinics at UNC and Vanderbilt University were tested to assess their understanding of BMI, their health literacy and their math abilities.

A new study shows that parents are more likely to understand a body mass index (BMI) chart if it’s color-coded, like a traffic light, than the standard charts currently in use.

“We think that better communication of BMI from doctor to parent could lead to parents' earlier awareness of their child’s weight status in time to help them make important lifestyle changes,” says Eliana Perrin, M.D., M.P.H., senior and corresponding author of the study and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

In the study, published in the September/October 2009 issue of journal Academic Pediatrics, a sample of 163 parents of children seen at pediatric clinics at UNC and Vanderbilt University were tested to assess their understanding of BMI, their health literacy and their math abilities.

“Childhood obesity is an American epidemic that bears enormous health and economic costs to everyone,” says Perrin, also a Research Fellow at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. “Health professionals need more effective ways of communicating our messages to parents if we want to stem this tide. We have to keep trying to help people understand the concerns their children face now and in the future.”

The BMI portion of the test included some questions that parents were asked to answer using a standard BMI chart and other questions in which they were asked to use a color-coded BMI chart. While the standard chart expresses BMI only in terms of percentiles and their ranges (for example, it shows that a 6-year-old boy with a BMI of 20 falls above the 95th percentile for weight), the color-coded chart uses familiar stop light colors. Green indicates the healthiest zone for BMI, yellow indicates more risk, and red indicates unhealthy BMI zones.

Parents were more than four times as likely to answer the same questions correctly when using color-coded BMI charts than when using standard charts. The color-coded charts were most helpful to parents with the lowest math abilities (those at the kindergarten through 5th grade level). In this group correct answers increased from 51 percent to 81 percent when they used color-coded charts. The study concluded that parents consistently performed better with color-coded charts than standard BMI charts, with those of lowest math skills reaping the largest benefit.

“This study shows the value of simplified communication tools. It's important that parents — all parents — understand what their doctors are telling them. It's one step in a long road to preventing obesity, but parents often don't know when their children are overweight or gaining weight too fast, and they don't want a complicated chart,” Perrin said.

The color-coded chart used in the study was developed by UNC researchers in the Department of Pediatrics and at the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

First author of the study is Matthew D. Oettinger, a fourth-year medical student at UNC. The other UNC authors are Joanne P. Finkle, J.D., R.N., Denise Esserman, Ph.D., Lisa Whitehead, M.D., and Steven R. Pattishall, also a fourth-year medical student. The Vanderbilt authors are Russell L. Rothman, M.D., M.P.P. and Thomas K. Spain, medical student.

Tom Hughes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>