Pediatrician counseling about preventive health topics: results from the Physicians' Practices Survey, 1998-1999

Pediatrics. 2002 May;109(5):E83-3. doi: 10.1542/peds.109.5.e83.


Objective: Government agencies and national organizations recommend that physicians counsel their child and adolescent patients about preventive health topics. Using data from a national survey, we describe the counseling patterns of pediatricians in regard to 9 recommended preventive health topics.

Methodology: Between October 1998 and April 1999, information was collected from 907 of 1760 primary care pediatricians randomly selected from a nationally representative sample. Through either a telephone interview or a mail survey, pediatricians were asked how frequently in the past month they counseled about 9 preventive health topics during the well-care visits or routine check-ups of their patients. Pediatricians answered questions regarding their patients aged 2 to 5, 6 to 12, and 13 to 18 years.

Results: Over 80% of the pediatricians counseled about 1 or more recommended preventive health topics during the well-care visits or routine check-ups of their patients. As compared with pediatricians who did not counsel about any topic, pediatricians who counseled were significantly more likely to be female and spend longer amounts of time with their patients during these visits. The frequency with which specific preventive health topics were discussed varied with the topic and the age of the patient.

Conclusion: Most pediatricians routinely counsel about some, but not all, recommended preventive health topics. An understanding of why pediatricians selectively counsel about specific topics is needed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Pediatrics / standards
  • Physicians, Family / standards*
  • Postal Service
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Professional Practice / standards*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Telephone