WH&Y authors: Professor Louise Baur

Citation: Cohen J, Brennan AM, Alexander S, Henderson J, Graham C, Baur LA. Assessment of clinicians’ views for managing children with obesity in the primary, secondary and tertiary settings. Childhood Obesity, 2019; 15:510-518.



Background: The aim of this study was to examine the perceptions of the assessment and management of children with obesity of primary, secondary, and tertiary care clinicians across two health districts in western Sydney and a specialty children's health network.

Methods: Participants were 304 clinicians (medical, nursing, and allied health workers) in primary, secondary, and tertiary pediatric-level services. A questionnaire captured the training, assessment, and management approaches and perceived barriers to managing pediatric patients with obesity. Chi-squared tests and logistic regressions examined the differences in responses between clinicians.

Results: Clinicians across all levels of health care had only moderate rates of training in obesity (48%), did not routinely measure tandem heights and weights (80%), and infrequently referred children to other services. Only 25% of clinicians frequently referred children to a weight management service (most frequently the dietitian). When comparing across health care settings, those in secondary-level services had higher rates of training (70%) and more frequently initiated treatment for obesity.

Conclusion: Frequencies of routine identification and initiation of treatment for children with obesity are low among health professionals across health care settings, with some exceptions for secondary care clinicians. Greater and more intensive health professional training on the assessment and management of children with obesity is needed in Australia and may be a key factor in increasing health care for this common chronic condition.

About The Authors


Louise Baur is Professor and Head of Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Sydney and Hea...