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Learn ins and outs of motivational interviewing for patients with obesity :

October 18, 2018

Editor's note: The  2018 AAP National Conference & Exhibition will take place from Nov. 2-6 in Orlando.

Ashley E. Weedn, M.D., FAAP, and Stephen Gillaspy, Ph.D., will present “Motivational Interviewing: Addressing Pediatric Obesity (I4069)” from 2-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, in room W224G of the convention center.

Dr. Weedn is a member of the AAP Section on Obesity and assistant professor, medical director, Healthy Futures, Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Gillaspy is associate professor, Sooner Pediatrics, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In the following Q&A, they discuss session highlights and why pediatricians should attend.

Q: What are the key things you will be covering?

A: We will discuss the principles of motivational interviewing (MI) and offer strategies and resources for implementing MI techniques into primary care practice. We will also demonstrate how you can efficiently use MI to help engage the family in setting behavioral goals for pediatric weight management. At the end of the session, participants will have the opportunity to practice using MI techniques and receive feedback with the goal of increasing their comfort with MI.

Q: Why do you think it’s important for pediatricians to learn more about using motivational interviewing to address pediatric obesity? 

Dr. Weedn: Pediatricians have a unique opportunity to influence health behaviors during childhood and adolescence. Motivational interviewing provides an avenue for pediatricians to help families increase their awareness and interest in improving their child’s health.

Dr. Gillaspy: Providers are content experts, but patients/caregivers are experts on their behavior. MI can assist in engaging patients/caregivers in the behavior change process.

Q: How did you get interested in this topic?

Dr. Weedn: During residency training, I participated in an MI training session through a rotation on pediatric obesity at the University of California at San Francisco. Using MI in my patient encounters has helped me better serve my patients by helping them meet their goals.

Q: What is the take-home message?

Dr. Weedn: MI is a patient-centered approach that helps facilitate behavior change through effective communication. The goal of our session is for pediatricians to recognize the utility of MI and implement some basic strategies and techniques into their practice to enhance their experience with caring for children and adolescents with excess weight.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Our experience with MI is that it helps to reduce barriers to treatment by improving patient and family engagement and decreasing providers’ feelings of frustration with pediatric weight management.

For more coverage of the 2018 AAP National Conference & Exhibition visit and follow @AAPNews on Twitter and Facebook.

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