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Keywords:

  • child;
  • inpatient;
  • obesity;
  • parent attitude;
  • surveillance

Aims:  (i) To determine prevalence and rates of detection of overweight/obesity among general paediatric inpatients. (ii) To explore parental expectations regarding detection and management of overweight/obesity during admission.

Methods:  This is a cross-sectional survey conducted in the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. A total of 102 children aged 2–12 years admitted to a general paediatric unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital and their parents participated in the survey. The main outcome measures are body mass index (BMI); documentation of weight, height and BMI in patient notes; parent description of child’s weight, parent concern about child’s weight, and parent opinion about detection and management of overweight.

Results:  Twelve of 102 children (11.7%, 95% confidence intervals 6.2%, 19.7%) were overweight or obese. All children had a documented weight, two children (2.0%) had a documented height and none had BMI documented. Seven of 12 parents of overweight children described their child’s weight as healthy; five of 12 parents of overweight children were not concerned about their child’s weight. Eight of 12 parents of overweight children believed all admitted children should have their BMI calculated. All parents thought the hospital should take action if a child was found to be overweight.

Conclusions:  Although prevalence of overweight was lower than expected, documentation of overweight did not occur for any patient in the study. Parents of overweight children with acute illnesses believed that the hospital should screen for overweight and discuss it with parents. Further studies are required to determine expectations among other patient populations.