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Open AccessArticle

Medical Students and Childhood Obesity: Health Disparity and Implication for Education

1
Center for Population Health and Aging, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
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Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
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Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30605, USA
4
Texas A&M College of Medicine, Round Rock, TX 78665, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(14), 2578; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16142578
Received: 7 June 2019 / Revised: 11 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 19 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: childhood obesity; health disparity; medical training; medical students’ perception; stigma childhood obesity; health disparity; medical training; medical students’ perception; stigma
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Lee, S.; Smith, M.L.; Kromann, L.; Ory, M.G. Medical Students and Childhood Obesity: Health Disparity and Implication for Education. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2578.

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