Providing accurate weight and height information for children during remote consultations

Theme Diet and physical activity

Workstream Clinical diet and physical activity

Status: This project is ongoing

A remote consultation is an online medical consultation which takes place over the internet. Sixty-five per cent of healthcare professionals predict they will be managing at least a quarter of their patients with the help of remote consultations in the future.

During the pandemic many healthcare consultations took place remotely. This applied to adults as much as it did to children. For example, parents consulting a dietitian about their child may have been asked to weigh and measure the child at home. These types of measurements would normally have been taken by a healthcare specialist during an in-person consultation.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) Paediatric Subgroup developed guidelines for remote consultations. These guidelines included instructions on how parents should measure their children. However, the accuracy of the information they provided wasn’t tested.

Remote consultations continue in clinical practice, often without information about how a child’s height or weight may be changing. Sometimes this information is provided by parents and may not be accurate. This means that we need to find a way of assessing if parents or carers can reliably and routinely provide accurate data on how their child is growing by weighing and measuring them.

Project aims

During this project we aim to:

  • Investigate the accuracy of child growth measurement, when parents weigh and measure their child at home using the BDA Paediatric Subgroup parent/carer weighing and measuring instructions
  • Explore whether parents and carers are capable of weighing and measuring their children at home
  • Assess whether parents and carers find the practice of weighing and measuring their children at home acceptable