Perceived training and professional development needs of Australian physiotherapists for working with overweight and obese children

Nikki Milne, Nancy Low Choy, G Leong, Wayne A Hing, Roger Hughes

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review


Questions: Are physiotherapists providing services to overweight and obese children and if so what service trends exist? What are the training needs of physiotherapists in this developing clinical area? Are clinical practice guidelines for working with overweight or obese children sought by Australian physiotherapists? Design: Prospective quantitative and qualitative survey. Participants: Sixty-four Australian physiotherapists working with children volunteered to participate. Outcome measures: A cross sectional survey was designed and distributed throughout Australia using snowball sampling methods. Results: Fifty-two percent of participants provided services to overweight or obese children and their families. Of those who provided services, most used a multi-disciplinary model (81%) and provided <5 hours of obesity-related service per week (95%). Eleven (33%) provided services in a hospital environment. Sixteen (49%) of respondents used BMI as an outcome measure whereas 25 (76%) used weight. Only 14 (42%) assessed motor skills. The top three professional development priorities included; How to educate children and families about the condition (72%), Assessment methods (67%) and Exercise prescription for children (61%). The majority of all respondents 57 (89%) indicated a need for national guidelines for physiotherapists to best manage overweight and obese children. Conclusion: This is the first study to investigate the service trends and professional needs of Australian physiotherapists working with overweight and obese children. A large majority of respondents indicate a need for clinical guidelines to best manage this clinical population and attention should consequently be directed towards workforce development strategies in this growing clinical area. Key Practice Points: • Childhood overweight/obesity in Australia is high yet limited clinical time is allocated by physiotherapists to this population.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2013
EventAustralian Physiotherapy Association Conference 2013: New Moves - Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 17 Oct 201320 Oct 2013 (Book of Abstracts) (Conference Program)


ConferenceAustralian Physiotherapy Association Conference 2013
Abbreviated titleAPA Conference 2013
Internet address


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