Child obesity prevention in primary health care: the role of practice nurses

Robinson, Alison, Denney-Wilson, Elizabeth, Laws, Rachel and Harris, Mark 2013, Child obesity prevention in primary health care: the role of practice nurses, Journal of paediatrics and child health, vol. 49, no. 4, pp. E294-E299, doi: 10.1111/jpc.12164.

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Title Child obesity prevention in primary health care: the role of practice nurses
Author(s) Robinson, Alison
Denney-Wilson, Elizabeth
Laws, RachelORCID iD for Laws, Rachel
Harris, Mark
Journal name Journal of paediatrics and child health
Volume number 49
Issue number 4
Start page E294
End page E299
Total pages 7
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2013-04
ISSN 1034-4810
Keyword(s) child
primary health care
Summary Aim

Overweight and obesity affects approximately 20% of Australian pre-schoolers. The general practice nurse (PN) workforce has increased in recent years; however, little is known of PN capacity and potential to provide routine advice for the prevention of child obesity. This mixed methods pilot study aims to explore the current practices, attitudes, confidence and training needs of Australian PNs surrounding child obesity prevention in the general practice setting.


PNs from three Divisions of General Practice in New South Wales were invited to complete a questionnaire investigating PN roles, attitudes and practices in preventive care with a focus on child obesity. A total of 59 questionnaires were returned (response rate 22%). Semi-structured qualitative interviews were also conducted with a subsample of PNs (n = 10).


Questionnaire respondent demographics were similar to that of national PN data. PNs described preventive work as enjoyable despite some perceived barriers including lack of confidence. Number of years working in general practice did not appear to strongly influence nurses' perceived barriers. Seventy per cent of PNs were interested in being more involved in conducting child health checks in practice, and 85% expressed an interest in taking part in child obesity prevention training.


Findings from this pilot study suggest that PNs are interested in prevention of child obesity despite barriers to practice and low confidence levels. More research is needed to determine the effect of training on PN confidence and behaviours in providing routine healthy life-style messages for the prevention of child obesity.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/jpc.12164
Field of Research 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920501 Child Health
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2013, Wiley
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