Factors associated with Ohio nurse practitioners’ childhood obesity preventive practice patterns

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Background and purpose:

More nurse practitioners (NPs) infiltrate into primary care settings, and play a pivotal role in prevention of childhood obesity. However, minimal research has been published about their practice patterns. The current study uses a sample of Ohio NPs and describes NPs' childhood obesity prevention practice patterns, knowledge of the guidelines, their personal physical activity in relation to childhood obesity prevention practices, and identification of perceived barriers for practice.


Mail surveys were sent to a random selection of Ohio NPs. Quantitative and qualitative analyses methods were used to analyze the association between NPs' personal physical activity and their practice patterns and barriers to preventive practices related to childhood obesity.


Ohio NPs who reported engaging in higher physical activity levels were more likely to report providing frequent assessment and counseling of healthy diet and physical activity. Frequency of weight tracking and referral to specialists were less frequent regardless of physical activity engagement by the NPs. Parental resistance was the most significant barrier to lifestyle counseling.

Implications for practice:

Findings from the current study may offer new insight into innovative approaches for treatment and prevention of childhood obesity. These may include simple quality improvement projects to advocacy for community and school programs.

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