Pediatricians and physical activity counseling: how does residency prepare them for this task?

Teach Learn Med. 2010 Apr;22(2):107-11. doi: 10.1080/10401331003656512.


Purpose: Physical activity (PA) health benefits are clear, yet few children in the United States achieve recommended PA levels. Pediatricians provide PA counseling, but it is not known how residencies prepare trainees for this task. The objective was to determine current training methods for PA counseling in pediatric residency programs.

Summary: Web-based questionnaire exploring curricular content, barriers to curriculum development, and attitudes/beliefs about the pediatrician's role regarding PA counseling was sent to 192 U.S. pediatric residency directors. There were 115 of 192 (60%) programs that responded. Curricula focused on knowledge-based topics with limited training in counseling skills. Respondents felt PA counseling was important, but few felt they could influence PA. Perceived barriers to curriculum development included lack of space in the curriculum, few trained faculty, and insufficient educational materials.

Conclusions: Curricula that include a skills-based component in addition to knowledge attainment may improve pediatricians' PA counseling skills.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Child
  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Counseling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Pediatrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States