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Keywords

ethnic & racial disparities, obesity, underserved populations, caregiver beliefs, BMI

Abstract

A pilot study exploring caregiver views of the role of schools in students’ health.

Abstract

To date, 20 states in theUnited Statesrequire school-based body mass index (BMI) screening for school-aged populations and for some the requirements include caregiver notification of the findings. Few studies have provided empirical data indicating whether or not caregivers accept or act on BMI communication from schools. Therefore, an exploratory pilot study was conducted in a culturally diverse urban school district to determine how a required (BMI) screening and notification were viewed by caregivers. Most caregivers reported that they felt schools did not have a role in the evaluation of their child’s BMI or interventions and did not find the letter an acceptable means of communication regarding their child’s weight status. This was especially true for Hispanic cultures. Implications for service delivery include more culturally sensitive communication and individualized communication especially for overweight and obese children. Health disparities can be reduced by tailoring communication to different racial and ethnic groups to meet their cultural expectations and beliefs.

Permissions

The MA template letter enclosed is in the public domain from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts