If doctors want to develop a strong rapport with parents of overweight children, it would be best if physicians used terms like "large" or "gaining too much weight" as opposed to the term "obese." These were findings recently published by medical researchers at the University of Alberta.
Geoff Ball, a researcher in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry with the Department of Pediatrics, worked with department colleagues Amanda Newton and Carla Farnesi to review articles about the important relationship between families and health professionals when it comes to addressing concerns about children's weight. Farnesi has since moved to Montreal where she will soon start her PhD at Concordia University. Their findings were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal, Pediatric Obesity.
They found the delicate balance was affected by: parents' preferences about language regarding obesity, how health professionals talked about weight, how care was delivered and parents' expectations.
"Health professionals probably shouldn't use terms like fat, chubby, overweight or obese," says Ball. "Terms that are more neutral, less judgmental and less stigmatizing should be used. Most of the time families will want that sensitive type of language. And that's what clinicians should want, too, because that's what families want."
Some parents felt blamed for their children's weight issues, while others found health professionals "rude and judgmental" or inattentive.
When it came to discussing sensitive issues around children's weight, parents felt it was the role of doctors to spearhead that difficult conversation, especially if there were health concerns. But health professionals were somewhat reluctant to do this because they didn't want to offend families and negatively affect the physician-patient relationship – especially when it came to raising concerns about weight during a medical appointment about an unrelated medical issue.
Ultimately, if parents feel ostracized by physicians, the families are less likely to follow doctor recommendations, the study concluded.
Ensuring physicians receive guidance on how to address sensitive topics like weight could be a good idea, noted the paper. It would also be worthwhile to get more feedback from parents about the issue, and to encourage families to work with doctors as a team to find solutions for children. Using more sensitive language about weight is also needed.
"If these changes are made it could lead to: families being more apt to follow the doctor's advice, families being more apt to return for follow-up appointments, better interactions between health-care professionals and families, and families being more satisfied with their care," says Ball. "You want to have a positive rapport with families so they stay engaged. Those are outcomes you would want."
The research was funded by the Women and Children's Health Research Institute through the generous support of the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation.
Ball is also an adjunct professor with both the School of Public Health and the Faculty of Agriculture, Life & Environmental Sciences.
Raquel Maurier | EurekAlert!
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology