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Arch Dis Child. 2007 July; 92(7): 655.
PMCID: PMC2083784

The views of professionals toward infant growth

We would like to thank Wright and Weaver1 for their interesting commentary accompanying the publication of our article.2 They comment on the lack of differentiation between the size and growth of infants in the understanding of professionals and parents, and resulting difficulties in interpreting growth charts. When integrating evidence from lay and scientific viewpoints we came to similar conclusions.3

Wright and Weaver also call for a systematic review of professional views about infant size and growth. In our review we did seek out the views of professionals as well as of parents and others, but only located two relevant studies.

The first study reported on questionnaires returned by 263 public health nurses from across Finland concerning post‐natal home visits.4 Although most nurses who responded (62%) thought that weighing the child at this visit was important, a substantial minority (35%) saw little or no value in weighing.

The second described views on early childhood obesity expressed by 16 dieticians attached to a special supplemental nutrition programme for women, infants and children (WIC) clinics in the USA.5 They thought that lack of concern about overweight among parents was problematic. One said “I think unless a family member had a medical problem associated with weight, they really don't see that there is a need for any type of intervention or to do anything”.5 This study also revealed a degree of antagonism between mothers and dieticians, who sometimes saw themselves as “battling” against the advice of family members.5

Footnotes

Competing interests: None declared.

References

1. Wright C M, Weaver L T. Image or reality: why do infant size and growth matter to parents? Arch Dis Child 2007. 92(2)98–100.100 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Lucas P J, Arai L, Baird J. et al A systematic review of lay views about infant size and growth. Arch Dis Child 2007. 92(2)120–127.127 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
3. Lucas P J, Roberts H M, Kleijnen J. et al The importance of size and growth in infancy: integrated findings from systematic reviews of scientific evidence and lay perspectives. Child Care Health Dev. In press. doi: 10.1111/j.1365‐2214.206.00718.x
4. Vehvilainen‐Julkunen K. The function of home visits in maternal and child welfare as evaluated by service providers and users. J Adv Nurs 1994. 20672–678.678 [PubMed]
5. Baughcum A E, Burklow K A, Deeks C M. et al Maternal feeding practices and childhood obesity: a focus group study of low‐income mothers. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1998. 1521010–1014.1014 [PubMed]

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