Childhood Obesity—Whose Business Is It?

Childhood Obesity—Whose Business Is It?

SOURCE: Pediatric Physical Therapy journal

ARTICLE “Trends in Attitudes and Practice Patterns of Physical Therapists in Addressing Childhood Obesity in Schools”[url=…]

PLYMOUTH, New Hampshire USA—School-based physical therapists are well positioned (among a range of health care professionals and educators) to deliver guidance and training to help children cope with or avoid obesity—according to original research findings published in Pediatric Physical Therapy journal (Pediatr Phys Ther 2017;00:1–9). Author Eydie Kendall PT, PhD, PCS Assistant Professor at Plymouth State University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program talks about findings from her investigation of attitudes to childhood obesity among physical therapists in American schools and describes the pivotal position they occupy for providing interventions to combat this looming health threat. Sanjay Kinra MBBS MD MRCP MSc PhD FFPH, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Consultant Paediatrician (Childhood Obesity) at University College London adds comments from the perspective of his global research in pediatric obesity. Dylan Thompson PhD, Chair of Human Physiology and Research Director at the Department for Health, University of Bath, England, discusses his research findings about the science connecting physical activity with weight control. SOURCE: Pediatric Physical Therapy Volume 30 Number 1 (January 1st, 2018) REFERENCE: Pediatr Phys Ther 2017;00:1–9 TITLE: “Trends in attitudes and practice patterns of physical therapists in addressing childhood obesity in schools” AUTHOR: Eydie Kendall, PT, PhD, PCS, Assistant Professor, Plymouth State University Doctor of Physical Therapy Program [url=…] TRANSCRIPT: Not only are there more kids who are affected by obesity, but those who are: are more obese then we seen before—even more obese. And so when you have greater levels of obesity you have many more problems with orthopedic development cardiovascular issues—that now we are starting to see not only in adulthood but we’re seeing in childhood as well. So: One of the major findings of this study is that we are really not at a consensus! We can’t agree as to whether or not it’s our role to intervene with childhood obesity as far as physical therapy within the schools. In a nutshell: what was the attitude you found among physical therapists? One of the really interesting findings is that the younger therapists—those with less experienced—tend to embrace that role in intervention in the childhood obesity more so than those older therapists who have already had clinical experience working with kids. And so it—sort of—hints that there might be some changes coming down the pike with our profession. It takes a whole team to address the issue of childhood obesity. And physical therapy is uniquely positioned to play a role—especially for those kids who are profoundly affected by the problem. The question that I aimed to the answer was: What is physical therapy’s role—and specifically for school-district physical therapy? A child spends a good part of their day—five days a week—in schools. So it’s an opportunity to influence that lifestyle for that child. And so working on being healthy and being active is a very important piece. What did you find out in your survey? Did you find that physical therapists regard it as part of the job? I think we’re all over the place. But I also think it’s (kind of) changing. When we see these kids who are profoundly overweight they’re going to have developmental impact. So the skeletal systems are not going to form because of the forces put upon them. Physical therapy looks at pathology. And then pediatric physical therapy has to have a crystal ball and predict the future based on what you are seeing at the time. And so I think we have a huge role that we can play that goes along with our typical practice because we can see what’s going on bio-mechanically with these kids, and then try to project what problems they may have as adults. So: I think the take-home message to physical therapist is that: We pretty much need to decide for ourselves what our treatment philosophy is—and what our role is—in embracing this problem. I think: maybe our focus needs to be on working with those kids who really need more help then just signing up for soccer, not drinking as much soda, and staying away from the TV. There are kids who really are in trouble. And I think we are uniquely positioned to help those kids.

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