Using e-resources in dietetic consultations with children

Dietitians’ perceptions of communicating with preadolescent, overweight children in the consultation setting: the potential for e-resources

Raaff et al., JHND Early View


There are calls to enhance existing child weight management interventions and to develop new treatment approaches. The potential for interactive electronic resources (e-resources) to support child–dietitian communication has yet to be explored. Towards developing such a tool, the present study aimed to understand dietetic attitudes and approaches to communicating with preadolescent overweight children in individual consultations to support behaviour change.


A purposive sample of 18 dietitians, providing weight management advice to overweight 7–11-year-old children, took part in the study. Individual semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted. Data were transcribed and then analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Content analysis was used to interpret dietetic attitude towards e-resources.


Six overarching themes were identified describing dietitians’ views: the complexity of treating childhood obesity, the strategic balance of dietetic communication focus between child and parent, the child’s capacity to communicate affecting their contribution, dietetic approaches to verbal child communication and the features of resources that can support them, as well as dietetic expectations for resources. Independent inter-rater agreement for the themes was 76.9% and 73.1%, respectively. The majority of dietitians (n = 13) supported the concept of introducing an interactive multimedia e-resource into child weight management consultations.


Most dietitians sought to engage the preadolescent child in the consultation, using dietetic visual aids to complement verbal strategies and to serve as scaffolding for the conversation. There is scope for interactive e-resources to enhance communication, provided that they are flexibly tailored to meet the needs of the dietitian and the overweight child.



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