The role of physical therapists in pediatric health promotion and obesity prevention: comparison of attitudes

Pediatr Phys Ther. 2011 Spring;23(1):79-86. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31820979fb.


Purpose: To identify attitudes of teachers, parents, and physical therapists (PTs) toward PTs' roles in health promotion (HP), obesity prevention (OP), and physical activity (PA) for preschoolers.

Methods: Surveys (n = 618) were distributed to preschools and pediatric PTs.

Results: Overall response rate was 42%. Dietitians or physicians were selected as most knowledgeable about HP/OP/PA. Teachers were selected as most appropriate to educate preschoolers, whereas PTs were identified as appropriate to educate parents and teachers about HP/OP/PA. Most respondents were unaware of PTs' involvement in HP/OP/PA.

Conclusions: Physical therapist expertise is underrecognized and underused for pediatric HP/OP/PA. Parents and teachers are open to PT's involvement. Physical therapists need to improve awareness and become involved.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Child Care
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Competence
  • Faculty
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / methods*
  • Professional Role*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult