Parents want doctors to discuss sex, drugs, tobacco use with their kids

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Washington, Jan 29 : When parents bring their adolescents for routine check-ups, they hope that the doctors talk to their children about sex, diet, drug abuse and tobacco use, according to a new report.

The report by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, says that parents' beliefs about important topics for health care providers to discuss with adolescent-age children during routine check-ups varies by the child's age and race.

The study, which asked parents of 11- to 17-year-old kids to rate 18 health-related topics for health care providers to address during an adolescent's routine check-up, found that diet/nutrition, exercise/sports and the physical changes of puberty were the overall top three issues parents want discussed, followed by drugs, tobacco, sexually transmitted diseases and depression/suicide.

Top 10 topics parents consider very important for doctors to discuss with adolescents, according to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health are - diet/nutrition, exercise/sports, physical changes of puberty, drug use, tobacco use, sexually transmitted diseases, depression/suicide, obesity, drinking and eating disorders. Using data from a national online survey conducted in July and August in collaboration with Knowledge Networks Inc., the National Poll on Children's Health sought to find out which topics parents feel are the most important for health care providers to cover during check-ups, and if those topics varied by a child's race/ethnicity, gender and age.

The survey was administered to a random sample of 2,060 adults, ages 18 and older, who are a part of Knowledge Network's online KnowledgePanelSM.

The poll revealed that parents' ranking of health topics varied based on their children's race and ethnicity. While diet and nutrition ranked number 1, blacks and Hispanics, the groups were not in agreement on the other top five health topics doctors should discuss with adolescents during routine check ups.

Most notably, 77 percent of Hispanics felt drug use was the second most important topic doctors should address, while whites and blacks ranked exercise/sports as their number 2 choice.

Hispanic parents also were more likely to rank drug use, drinking, STDs and pregnancy prevention as very important to discuss compared to white and black parents.

Among black parents, sexual abstinence was more highly rated topic of discussion compared to white and Hispanic parents. In addition, black parents ranked obesity (66 percent) as their number 3 topic for discussion.

The National Poll on Children's Health also found that parents of older children (ages 15 to 17) more frequently viewed drinking, tobacco use, STDs and pregnancy prevention as being important for discussion during check-ups than parents with younger adolescents.

"There is enough variation in parents' opinions based on their child's age, race and gender that, rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, it makes the most sense to encourage parents to tell their child's doctor what topics they want to have addressed during visits," said lead researcher Amanda F. Dempsey, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, a member of the CHEAR Unit team in the Division of General Paediatrics at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health is funded by the Department of Paediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan Health System.

ANI

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