Examining the Use of the 2006 and 2007 World Health Organization Growth Charts by Family Physicians in British Columbia




Rand, Emily Marie Nicholson

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Introduction: The epidemic of overweight and obesity both worldwide and in Canada is indicative of the need for proper growth monitoring beginning at birth. This study evaluated Family Physician’s (FP) Level of Use (LoU) of the recommended 2006 and 2007 World Health Organization (WHO) Growth Charts for monitoring their paediatric patients’ growth. It explored factors influencing LoU, utilizing the Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) theory and Ecological Framework for Effective Implementation (EFEI) as guiding models. FPs’ awareness of resources to support paediatric weight management was also assessed. Methods: A survey was distributed to FP in British Columbia (BC), Canada (N = 2853). The survey addressed provider and innovation characteristics, prevention delivery and support system factors, and barriers and facilitators to chart use. Correlations and multiple linear regression were used to determine correlates and predictors of LoU. Results: Sixty-two surveys were returned (2.2%). WHO Growth Chart LoU was 80.4%. Six variables significantly predicted LoU, including age (β = -.28, t = -3.15, p < .05), practicing in Fraser Health Authority region (β = -.24, t = -2.67, p < .05), assessing head circumference of birth to two year olds (β = .23, t = 2.45, p < .05), perceived growth chart accessibility (β = .39, t = 4.22, p < .05) and compatibility (β = .47, t = 5.27, p < .05), and innovativeness (β = -.37, t = -4.11, p < .05). These variables accounted for 69% of the variance in LoU. The most commonly identified barrier and facilitator to chart use was related to the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. FPs’ awareness of resources to support overweight paediatric patients was low. Conclusion: The majority of FP in BC in this sample had adopted the WHO Growth Charts. The results showed partial support for DOI theory and EFEI derived factors. Despite a small sample size, the findings highlighted the importance of installing the charts in the EMR systems, and can provide a foundation for future public health dissemination efforts and research on medical guideline implementation.



family physicians, paediatric, overweight, obesity, Diffusion of Innovations, Ecological Framework for Effective Implementation, clinical practice guidelines, dissemination, adoption, Level of Use, Electronic Medical Records, health care, World Health Organization Growth Charts