Pediatric Physical Therapy

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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31820979fb
research report

The Role of Physical Therapists in Pediatric Health Promotion and Obesity Prevention: Comparison of Attitudes

Schlessman, Amy M. PT, DPT, DHS; Martin, Kathy PT, DHS; Ritzline, Pamela D. PT, EdD; Petrosino, Christopher L. PT, PhD

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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.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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