Trends in Attitudes and Practice Patterns of Physical Therapists in Addressing Childhood Obesity in Schools

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Abstract

Purpose:

This study investigated trends in attitudes of school physical therapists about intervention for childhood obesity.

Methods:

A survey was developed to quantify attitudes. Two cases investigated the influence of attitudes on choices in treatment frequency. Factor analysis further delineated reasons for treatment frequency recommendations.

Results:

Attitudes did not change. Variability in responses decreased. Personal characteristics had evolving influence. In 2008, the perception of the PT's role in childhood obesity intervention had a greater influence on the choice to treat, but in 2015 the perception of the seriousness had a bigger effect on that decision.

Discussion:

Changing demographics of the therapists, increasing prevalence of obesity, and recent attention to the problem may have contributed to the trends.

Conclusion:

There is no consensus as to the role of school physical therapy with intervention for obesity, but influential variables are emerging and practice patterns are evolving.

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