“Working to End Teen Obesity” examines conversations between health care providers
and adolescent patients about body image and weight.
Childhood obesity carries significant physiological and emotional burden for teenagers who struggle with it and the conversations practitioners have with their patients can have long-term influence on weight loss and management.
We hypothesize that teenagers must be engaged in weight conversations differently than adults and that revamping this dialogue to reflect their perspectives will make them more successful and effective.
Our investigation uses qualitative analysis of recorded and
transcribed discussions and surveys from teenage advisory boards and focus groups (three
female and three male with teens who identified as multi-racial, Latino, or Black, respectively)
as well as surveys and discussions with physicians who serve teenage patients.
Teens are recruited from the general community and physicians from primary care and pediatric hospitals and practices. Our results illustrate that teenagers recommend that physicians focus on individual motivations, set realistic expectations, provide relevant and specific suggestions, and demonstrate sincere interest when having obesity conversations with their patients. Physicians report consistent use of BMI, which teens have reported is a poor motivator, in conversation and self-rate their conversations with teenagers about obesity as ineffective.