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General practitioners’ practices for malnutrition screening in paediatric populations: a survey in one French department

Abstract

Background

Malnutrition remains a public health problem in Europe, not only in adults, but also in paediatrics. The aim of this study was to evaluate general practitioners (GPs) practices in paediatric malnutrition screening.

Methods

An anonymised questionnaire was sent to GPs in one French area. We analysed GPs’ data: sociodemographic, knowledge of malnutrition screening, practices, tools, and trainings.

Results

Overall, 102 of 174 GPs replied to the questionnaire (58.6%). 79.4% of GPs routinely measured weight, but only 33.3% measured both height and BMI, despite having tools (98,6%). 43.6% of GPs systematically reviewed growth charts. 71.3% were familiar with dietary recommendations, 30.7% with blood tests for nutritional status assessment, and 13.7% with dietary supplements. GPs who routinely measured BMI reviewed significantly more growth charts (p = 0.001) and prescribed more dietary supplements (p = 0.001).

Conclusions

GPs do not sufficiently measure children’s height and BMI, despite the increasing availability of software. Failure to analyse growth charts can induce delays in malnutrition screening.

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Fig. 1: GPs’ practices at each medical consultation (measurements and recording of measurements in the child’s personal healthcare book).

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Nikki Sabourin-Gibbs, Rouen University Hospital, for her help in editing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Valérie Bertrand.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Bertrand, V., Pichot, B., Déchelotte, P. et al. General practitioners’ practices for malnutrition screening in paediatric populations: a survey in one French department. Eur J Clin Nutr 75, 400–402 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-020-00719-y

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