Health promotion and obesity prevention in the paediatric practice

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Health promotion and obesity prevention in the paediatric practice setting

The current recommendations on the prevention of obesity in children and adolescents conclude that risk groups for the development of obesity have hardly or not at all been reached. Central to the project is the paediatrician as a "mediator" of a health-promoting lifestyle. The paediatrician accompanies the child in his first years of life and offers with his/her practice team an important setting with a low-threshold access to otherwise difficult to reach families.

In a mixed method approach, both the perspective of the professional actors and that of the parents are included. At the Institute for Medical Sociology and Rehabilitation Science, expert interviews in paediatric practices as well as interviews with parents are conducted:

  1. From the expert perspective, the counselling experiences, wishes and needs as well as obstacles and conditions that promote the use of counselling tools will be researched by means of qualitative expert interviews.
  2. In interviews with parents, culturally influenced orientations, health-relevant values and educational goals are reconstructed which influence the parents' health behaviors and practices and thus shape the children's health socialization. Families of different social and ethnic origins as well as parents with lower health competences are taken into account.

The findings from the qualitative data are incorporated into the development of counselling tools and information materials. At the same time, the interviews provide access to potential participants for the pilot testing of a "counselling toolbox".

In addition, the Institute for Medical Sociology and Rehabilitation Science is involved in the conception and statistical data analysis of an online survey to identify paediatricians’ needs for counselling tools regarding health promotion and obesity prevention. 

Aim of the overall project

The overall objective of the project is to

  • develop a (digital) "counselling toolbox" for health promotion and obesity prevention of risk groups.
  • support paediatricians in better assessing and serving the information, counselling and intervention needs of families.
  • formulate recommendations to political decision-makers in order to establish effective networked structures for health promotion and obesity prevention across the board.