Introduction: Despite widespread concern about pediatric obesity, health care professionals report low proficiency for identifying and treating this condition. This paper reports on the evaluation of pediatric overweight assessment and management training for clinicians and staff in a managed care system. The training was evaluated for its impact on assessment practices and utilization of management tools.
Methods: A delayed-control design was utilized to measure the effects of two 60-minute interactive Continuing Medical education (CME) trainings for the pediatric health care teams. Chart abstraction was conducted at 0-, 3- and 6-months after training, recording the proportion of charts containing the recommended assessment methods and management tools.
Results: The training was associated with a significant increase in the utilization of some tools and practices, including charting BMI-for-age percentile (p<0.001) and using a nutrition and activity self-history form (p<0.001). Overall, from baseline to 3-months post training, charting BMI-for-age percentiles increased from zero to 25.2% and utilization of the self-history form increased from zero to 35.3%. These increases were sustained at 6-months post training. Other tools guiding clinician counseling were less widely utilized, although a behavioral prescription pad was used with 20% of overweight patients.
Discussion: A modest investment in clinician and staff training designed to be feasible in a clinical setting was associated with substantial increases in the use of appropriate tools and practices for the assessment and management of pediatric overweight. Such training may help to augment and improve the processes of pediatric health care delivery for addressing overweight. The training provides a viable model for future CME efforts in other health care settings.