Assessment of weight-related factors of adolescents by private practitioners
School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
BMC Family Practice 2013, 14:141 doi:10.1186/1471-2296-14-141Published: 26 September 2013
Few studies have examined how common physicians assess various weight-related variables and patient characteristics that predict such assessments based on adolescents’ reports. We aimed to examine how common adolescents received weight-related physical measurements and lifestyle enquiries (dietary habits and physical activity) from private practitioners and to identify factors associated with these assessments.
In the Hong Kong Student Obesity Surveillance (HKSOS) project, 33692 students (44.9% boys; mean age 14.8, SD 1.9 years, age range 11–18) from 42 randomly selected schools completed an anonymous questionnaire. The students were asked “In the past 12 months, has any private practitioners (or their nurses) measured or asked about these items?” Response options included height, weight, waist circumference (WC), blood pressure (BP), BMI, diet, and physical activity. Weight status was based on self-reported weight and height. Logistic regression was used to identify student characteristics associated with each assessment. Analyses were conducted using STATA 10.0.
Among 13283 students who had doctor consultations in the past 12 months, 37.9% received physical measurements or lifestyle enquiries, with weight (20.8%), height (16.8%) and blood pressure (11.5%) being the most common, followed by diet (8.1%), BMI (6.3%), WC and physical activity (both 4.6%). In general, adolescents who were female, older, underweight or overweight/obese, had parents with higher education level, and had actively asked private practitioners for advice about weight were more likely to receive assessments of weight-related factors.
Weight-related factors in adolescents were infrequently assessed by private practitioners in Hong Kong. Generally, unhealthy weight, higher parental education and advice-seeking by adolescents predicted these assessments.