Medical students and childhood obesity: Health disparity and implication for education

Shinduk Lee, Matthew Lee Smith, Laura Kromann, Marcia G. Ory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study aimed at examining the relationship between medical students’ perceptions about health disparity and childhood obesity care. A cross-sectional survey (n = 163) was used to examine medical students’ characteristics and perceptions related to health disparity and childhood obesity. Multiple mixed effects regression models with Tukey’s tests were used to examine participants’ perceived importance of different roles (e.g., parents) and topics to discuss with child patients and their parents. Separate models were used to examine whether health disparity perception was associated with participants’ perceived importance of different roles and topics to discuss with child patients and their parents. Despite acknowledging that low-income families might lack resources to change health behaviors, many medical students still reported patients and parents being primarily responsible for childhood obesity condition. Participants perceived that the most important topic to discuss was patient’s behaviors, followed by access to safe environments and school-based interventions. Participants’ perception about health disparity was significantly associated with their perceived importance of different roles and topics to discuss with parents. The current study implies disconnection in linking health disparity with childhood obesity among medical students and confirms the importance of sensitizing medical students about the socio-environmental determinants of childhood obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2578
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume16
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2 2019

Keywords

  • Childhood obesity
  • Health disparity
  • Medical students’ perception
  • Medical training
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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