Readability and content analysis of lifestyle education resources for weight management in Australian general practice

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMC Obesity, 2016, 3 (1)
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2016 El-Haddad et al. Background: Weight management education is one of the key strategies to assist patients to manage their weight. Educational resources provide an important adjunct in the chain of communication between practitioners and patients. However, one in five Australian adults has low health literacy. The purpose of this study was to assess the readability and analyse the content of weight management resources. Methods: This study is based on the analysis of 23 resources found in the waiting rooms of ten Sydney-based general practices and downloaded from two clinical software packages used at these practices. The reading grade level of these resources was calculated using the Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Fry Readability Graph, and the Simplified Measure of Gobbledygook. Resources' content was analysed for the presence of dietary, physical activity, and behaviour change elements, as recommended by the Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, adolescents, and children in Australia. Results: The resources' average reading grade level was for a 10th grader (9.5 ± 1.8). These findings highlight that the average reading grade level was two grades higher than the recommended reading grade level for health education resources of 8th grade level or below. Seventy percent of resources contained dietary and behaviour change elements. Physical activity was included in half of the resources. Two messages were identified to be inconsistent with the guidelines and three messages had no scientific basis. Conclusion: A body of evidence now exists that supports the need to develop evidence-based education resources for weight management that place low demand on literacy, without compromising content accuracy. The findings from this study suggest that there is significant room for improvement in the educational resources provided in general practices.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: