Physiotherapy and child obesity: Current trends in Australian practice

Nikki Milne, Nancy Low Choy, Gary M. Leong, Wayne A Hing, Russell Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Aim: To establish current trends in Physiotherapy practice for assessment and management of Australian children who are overweight or obese, assess professional needs of Physiotherapists working with overweight and or obese children and their families, including perceived needs for physiotherapy-specific clinical practice guidelines. Method: A cross-sectional survey design was employed, with questionnaires purposively distributed through 13 physiotherapy services in key services/states throughout Australia. Snowball sampling resulted in completed questionnaires from sixty-four physiotherapists who provided services to children. Results: Just over half (52%) 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, 12 (40%) provided the first service within 1-month of referral and only 2 respondents (6%) indicated waiting times >6 months for overweight and obese children. Almost half (16, 49%) of Physiotherapists used BMI as an outcome measure but more (25, 76%) used weight. Only 14 (42%) assessed motor skills. The majority of all respondents 57 (89%) indicated a need for national guidelines for physiotherapists to best manage overweight and obese children. Conclusion: Limited clinical time is allocated by physiotherapists to address the needs of overweight and or obese children in Australia. Acute-care facilities (hospitals) were the dominant service providers to overweight and obese children. A large majority of all respondents indicated a need for physiotherapy-specific clinical guidelines to best manage overweight and obese children
Original languageEnglish
Article number0044
Pages (from-to)22-22
Number of pages1
JournalObesity Research and Clinical Practice
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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