Extending obesity screening to the inpatient setting may increase adolescent and parent awareness of weight status. Whether this should be a priority given limited resources depends on how interventions would be received by adolescents and their parents. In this study, we aimed to further understand the perception of adolescents and their parents to addressing obesity in the inpatient setting to inform how to better address this issue.
Pairs of hospitalized adolescents 13 to 18 years old on a general service and their parents were surveyed. The adolescent and parent surveys included 20 and 21 multiple choice and ordered response questions, respectively. Questions assessed perception of adolescent weight status, readiness to discuss weight status in the hospital, and preferences regarding how that should be done. Demographics were self-reported. Adolescent BMI was calculated from medical records and categorized on the basis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention charts.
Analysis was done on 121 of 122 adolescent-parent pair responses. Of the adolescents, 34% were obese and 21% were overweight. Over two-thirds of adolescents and parents wanted to be informed during the hospitalization if the adolescent was overweight or obese, but there was concordance of both wanting to be informed in only 55% of pairs. A majority of adolescents and parents indicated that they preferred receiving information from physicians and through face-to-face discussion.
Although most adolescents and parents want to be informed of weight status in the inpatient setting, providers should be aware of potential differences in adolescent and parent receptiveness.