Background: e-learning is a potentially cost-effective, flexible method for training health professionals in obesity management.
Aims: Pilot the Weight4KIDs health professional e-learning program for paediatric obesity management to assess its uptake, acceptability and impact on participant learning outcomes.
Methods: Weight4KIDs is a series of 11 e-learning modules: a core module (basic assessment and initial management) and advanced modules (physical measurements, practical interventions, adolescent obesity, general medical issues, endocrine aspects, orthopaedic issues, nutrition, physical activity, sleep and psychosocial issues). Health professionals from six sites (three non-metropolitan) were invited to complete modules. Participants' knowledge on module topics was assessed at baseline. A post-training survey assessed participants' knowledge, views on module duration/content and intention to improve clinical practice.
Results: The core module took 20 minutes (median) [IQR: 13 to 37] to complete (n=130; 71% nurses; 55% non-metropolitan). Participation in advanced modules varied (range: n=18 to 70) with median completion times across modules ranging from 2-10 minutes. In all modules there was a statistically significant (P<0.05; related-samples Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test) improvement in participants' pre- to post-training knowledge scores. Most participants (range across all modules) indicated module completion: occurred during work time (58% to 84%), was of appropriate duration (81% to 100%) and detail (83% to 96%), and prompted intention to improve clinical practice (74% to 93%).
Conclusions: Weight4KIDs improved participants' knowledge of paediatric obesity management and was highly acceptable to a predominately nursing sample. The results support wider rollout of Weight4KIDs. The poor uptake by medical and allied health staff warrants further investigation.
Funding source: Western Child Health Network, New South Wales Department of Health, Australia.