To examine pediatrician weight-management communication with overweight Latino children and their parents and whether communication differs by pediatrician-patient language congruency.
Mixed-methods analysis of video-recorded primary care visits with overweight 6- to 12-year-old children. Three independent reviewers used video/transcript data to identify American Academy of Pediatrics–recommended communication content and establish communication themes/subthemes. Language incongruence (LI) was defined as pediatrician limited Spanish proficiency combined with parent limited English proficiency (LEP). Bivariate analyses examined associations of LI with communication content/themes.
The mean child age (N = 26) was 9.5 years old; 81% were obese. Sixty-two percent of parents had LEP. Twenty-seven percent of pediatricians were Spanish-proficient. An interpreter was used in 25% of LI visits. Major themes for how pediatricians communicate overweight included BMI, weight, obese, chubby, and no communication (which only occurred in LI visits). The pediatrician communicated child overweight in 81% of visits, a weight-management plan in 50%, a culturally relevant dietary recommendation in 42%, a recommendation for a follow-up visit in 65%, and nutrition referral in 50%. Growth charts were used in 62% of visits but significantly less often in LI (13%) versus language-congruent (83%) visits (P < .001).
Many overweight Latino children do not receive direct communication of overweight, culturally sensitive dietary advice, or follow-up visits. LI is associated with a lower likelihood of growth chart use. During primary care visits with overweight Latino children, special attention should be paid to directly communicating child overweight, formulating culturally sensitive weight-management plans, and follow-up. With LEP families, vigilance is needed in providing a trained interpreter and using growth charts.