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A Pilot Experience in the training of healthcare professionals to face the childhood obesity epidemic through family therapeutic education

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DOI: 10.4236/ojped.2013.32028    3,695 Downloads   5,379 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Background: Obesity is a high-cost social disease, the management of which, usually assigned to general practice, is less supported by evidence-based medicine. Most general practitioners feel unprepared to face the problem. Objectives: In 2000, at the Pediatric Department of Ferrara, we started a Family Group Therapeutic Education Program for the treatment of childhood obesity. More than 300 families have attended the program. Following our positive results, we created a professional training course on therapeutic education, addressed to healthcare personnel involved in the treatment of childhood obesity. The purpose of the present study is to discover if it is possible to promote the development of a shared therapeutic education strategy for obesity, involving primary care physiccians/pediatricians, specialists and dietitians. Methods: The integrated professional training course consists of a four-day seminar along with an on-line course for distance learning. The assessment of the project takes into account the following criteria: a multidimensional questionnaire (a pre- and post-test which explores: knowledge, motivation, self-efficacy, methodology, communication, modeling, etc.), an appreciation questionnaire with responses collected over the course of 2 years. Moreover, the nine participants of our 2008 training course began to use the new therapeutic tools in their practice and six of them sent us the anthropometric measurements of patients whom they have treated over the past two years using this approach allows us to present outcomes in terms of implementation of this therapeutic education program in everyday professional practice. Results and Conclusions: The course was attended by 15 healthcare professionals: ten in 2008 and five in 2009, from different Italian centers. Results seem to indicate a great interest and appreciation by the participants. Results based on BMI z-score reduction of the children cared for by our trainees seem to support the efficacy of our educational method in clinical practice. If these preliminary results are confirmed, new training projects for the management of childhood obesity can be planned and addressed to a wider healthcare professional public.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Rita, T. , Federica, M. , Guido, C. , Elisa, R. , Martin, D. and Renzo, M. (2013) A Pilot Experience in the training of healthcare professionals to face the childhood obesity epidemic through family therapeutic education. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 3, 165-176. doi: 10.4236/ojped.2013.32028.

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