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Empowering parents to make healthy changes

Child health focus of Clinical Day

27 Sep 2018


Obesity and the impact of smart device ‘screen time’ on child health were some of the topics covered by over 90 leading paediatricians and child health clinicians at a conference convened in the Blue Mountains recently.

The 2018 Paediatrics Clinical Day, a joint initiative of the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District and Wentworth Healthcare (operators of the NBMPHN) tackled local issues through discussions on the latest research and clinical practices.

Associate Professor Gary Leong, clinical lead for the NBMLHD’s Nepean Family Metabolic Health Service says the Clinical Day builds on the close collaboration between healthcare groups, researchers and community services. Professor Leong, an endocrinologist, says the region’s high rates of obesity in children was a key focus for this year’s conference.

He told delegates the Nepean Family Metabolic Health Service is the “first and only whole of lifespan multidisciplinary weight management service”. “We use a whole of family approach to address a suite of complex problems,” says Associate Professor Leong, who is the Clinical Lead for the Service’s Kids Fit For Future Clinic.

“There is a lack of education about what is a normal healthy weight, nutrition and physical activity,” he says. “There’s a need to empower parents to make healthy changes.”

The Clinical Day also featured a presentation by psychologist and digital nutrition consultant, Jocelyn Brewer, on the impacts of screen-based technology on child and family health. Associate Professor Leong says screen time is an emerging area of health research. He says there needs to be more discussion about how to “improve conversations about limiting the use of screen-based technology”.

Paediatricians and clinicians from both Nepean Hospital and Blue Mountains Hospital children’s wards also attended the conference.