Weighing children; parents agree, but GPs conflicted

Type Article

Journal Article


B. O'Shea; E. L. Ladewig; A. Kelly; U. Reulbach; T. O'Dowd

Year of publication



Arch Dis Child








BACKGROUND: General practitioners (GPs) do not routinely check children's weight, partly due to concern regarding parental/child response. The aim of this study is to compare GP concerns regarding weighing with parental/child responses. OBJECTIVE: Compare GP insights on weighing children with the experience of parents whose children had been weighed. METHODS: Part 1: postal survey of 20% sample of Irish GPs. Part 2: general practice-based study checking weight of 5-12 year olds attending 10 practices, with postconsultation parental survey. SETTING: Irish General Practice. PARTICIPANTS: 393 GPs and 457 parents. OUTCOME MEASURES: GP (n=393) and parental (n=434) responses. RESULTS: Of 490 GPs surveyed, 393 responded (response rate 80.2%). Few GPs (3.56%) always checked children's weight. Concern regarding parental response was often (52.2%) or always (19.0%) a concern that affected the likelihood of discussing a child's weight. Among children (n=457), 14.9% were overweight and 10.9% obese. Almost all (98.6%) parents indicated checking weight was helpful. 4.4% of parents and just over 1 in 4 obese children responded negatively to weighing. Overweight children were more likely to respond negatively (χ(2)=62.6, df=4, p