Pediatricians' communication about weight with overweight Latino children and their parents

Christy B. Turer, Sergio Montaño, Hua Lin, Kim Hoang, Glenn Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To examine pediatrician weight-management communication with overweight Latino children and their parents and whether communication differs by pediatrician-patient language congruency. METHODS: Mixed-methods analysis of video-recorded primary care visits with overweight 6- to 12-year-old children. Three independent reviewers used video/transcript data to identify American Academy of Pediatrics-recommended communication content and establish communication themes/subthemes. Language incongruence (LI) was defined as pediatrician limited Spanish proficiency combined with parent limited English proficiency (LEP). Bivariate analyses examined associations of LI with communication content/themes. RESULTS: The mean child age (N = 26) was 9.5 years old; 81% were obese. Sixty-two percent of parents had LEP. Twenty-seven percent of pediatricians were Spanish-proficient. An interpreter was used in 25% of LI visits. Major themes for how pediatricians communicate overweight included BMI, weight, obese, chubby, and no communication (which only occurred in LI visits). The pediatrician communicated child overweight in 81% of visits, a weight-management plan in 50%, a culturally relevant dietary recommendation in 42%, a recommendation for a follow-up visit in 65%, and nutrition referral in 50%. Growth charts were used in 62% of visits but significantly less often in LI (13%) versus language-congruent (83%) visits (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Many overweight Latino children do not receive direct communication of overweight, culturally sensitive dietary advice, or follow-up visits. LI is associated with a lower likelihood of growth chart use. During primary care visits with overweight Latino children, special attention should be paid to directly communicating child overweight, formulating culturally sensitive weight-management plans, and follow-up. With LEP families, vigilance is needed in providing a trained interpreter and using growth charts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)892-899
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Childhood obesity
  • Communication
  • Latino health
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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