Introduction: Several secondary level paediatric weight management services (PWMSs) have recently been established across NSW. This study aimed to evaluate parental acceptability and satisfaction with NSW secondary and tertiary PWMSs and ascertain barriers and facilitators to the provision of effective treatment of paediatric obesity.
Methods: Parents attending one of six NSW PWMSs for at least three months were invited to participate. Consenting participants completed a questionnaire measuring overall satisfaction with the PWMS, perception of clinician empathy, treatment expectations, service accessibility and burden associated with attending the service. Parents were also invited to participate in a semi-structured telephone interview which explored: acceptability of service design and delivery; service strengths/weaknesses; barriers/enablers to attendance and behaviour change; and recommendations for service improvement.
Results: 121 parents completed the questionnaire and 32 participated in phone interviews. Overall, 84% were satisfied/very satisfied with treatment received for their child’s weight and 94% were satisfied/very satisfied with overall care. Outcomes rated as most improved following PWMS attendance were families’ overall health and reduced conflict around healthy eating and physical activity. Patient weight loss/cessation of weight gain and improvement in the family’s overall health were rated as the most valued changes. Content analysis of interviews revealed parents’ recognition of positive changes achieved since attending the PWMS and appreciation of the resources provided, the encouraging/empathetic nature of staff, and the opportunity to learn about managing their child’s weight in a positive environment. Reported areas for improvement included more targeted information and limited additional benefit if families had participated in other weight management programs.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates high parental acceptability and satisfaction with current NSW PWMSs. Findings from this study can be utilised in future planning and development of PWMSs to optimise scalability and sustainability of integrated, responsive and effective care of children and adolescents with obesity.