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 Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>