Weight-Related Issues among Overweight Adolescents: What Are Health Care Providers Doing?

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The objectives of this survey were to: (1) assess the prevalence of dietitians, nurses, pediatricians, psychologists, and social workers working with adolescents who currently are managing obesity; and (2) determine whether issues of weight stigmatization and other weight-related issues are being discussed with overweight youth. Mailed surveys were completed by 1,567 health care providers as part of a national assessment of self-perceived competencies in addressing key health issues of adolescents. High percentages (47–92%) of health care providers working with adolescents reported that they currently manage obesity. Less than half of the dietitians (44%) and the pediatricians (43%) who deal with weight-related issues with overweight youth reported discussing weight-related stigmatization, while these issues were discussed by more than 90% of the psychologists and social workers. The findings suggest that health care providers may need training in how to address the issue of weight stigmatization with overweight adolescents.

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