Tertiary paediatric obesity services in Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2008, 44 (5), pp. 243 - 247
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Aim: To examine the nature and availability of paediatric obesity services in tertiary care settings across the states/territories of Australia. Methods: Surveys were sent to all clinicians identified as offering obesity services to children and adolescents. Respondents were asked to identify other service providers in their area, who were also asked to complete the survey. Results: Sixteen clinicians responded to the survey, from 20 requests. The clinicians who responded identified nine services in three of the eight states/territories of Australia. Existing services are limited to children and adolescents with severe obesity, with an average of 12 new referrals per service each month and an average waiting time of 5 months for an appointment. Most services involve a multidisciplinary approach, although the mix of staff varies considerably and emphasises nutrition rather than physical activity approaches. Conclusions: Despite the public attention devoted to paediatric obesity, tertiary services in Australia are inadequate to meet the increasing incidence and prevalence of this complex condition. The development of tertiary services as part of service delivery arrangements for paediatric obesity and its associated morbidities must become a priority within the health system. © 2008 The Authors.
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