A little girl has her height checked by a health professional.

A study conducted by MNCLHD, showed that health professionals believe there are complexities involved in conducting routine growth assessments and providing brief lifestyle support to families.

Research highlights challenges with routine growth assessments

Jul 25, 2023

New research, conducted by the Mid North Coast Local Health District, has highlighted the complexities for health professionals when conducting routine growth assessments and implementing lifestyle interventions for children and families. 

Health Promotion Officer, Emma Schwartzkoff, said the research project looked at how health professionals in the MNCLHD felt about conducting routine growth assessments and what their experiences were. 

Ms Schwartzkoff said it was found that health professionals can find it difficult to apply the recommended 4As Framework to conducting routine growth assessments in a patient centred way.

The 4As consist of:

  • Assess the patient,
  • Advise the outcome,
  • Assist with brief lifestyle advice 
  • Arrange for a referral to a preventive health program.

“The experiences and perceptions of health professionals in this study indicate that consistency in the approach to preventive health care, improved continuum of care for children with obesity and increased access to appropriate support for families of overweight or obese children are priority areas for practice change,” Emma said.

“We hope that these findings will contribute to ongoing practice change and emphasise the value of embedding preventive health into clinical practice.”

The research was recently published in the Australian Journal of Primary Health and is available online by going to: CSIRO PUBLISHING | Australian Journal of Primary Health 

The next component of this research will explore how MNCLHD health professionals are approaching healthy lifestyle conversations and how families perceive these conversations.

Health Promotion will continue to work with clinicians to build their capacity to embed prevention into their clinical practice including: how growth assessments can be used to monitor growth and development, healthy conversation training and supporting parents and children with responsive feeding.

For more information contact Emma Schwartzkoff by email: emma.schwrtzkoff@health.nsw.gov.au

Top of page