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One in 10 Parents Often Don't Follow Pediatricians' Advice

Lower income, black, and Hispanic parents more likely to follow guidance only occasionally

TUESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Although the majority of parents follow the advice of their child's health care provider most or all of the time, a considerable percentage of parents only occasionally follow their advice, according to a report published March 18 by the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

Researchers from the hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., conducted a survey involving a national sample of 907 parents of children aged 0 to 8 years to examine the extent to which they follow the advice of their children's health care provider.

The researchers found that the majority of parents follow the advice of their child's health care provider most (56 percent) or all (31 percent) of the time, while 13 percent follow their advice only occasionally. Parents from lower-income households and black and Hispanic parents were more likely to follow providers' advice only occasionally, compared with parents from higher-income households or whites. Parents who only occasionally follow provider advice were most likely to follow advice on nutrition, dental health, and car seats, and were least likely to follow advice on discipline, sleeping habits, and watching television. Parents' ratings of the quality of care of their health care provider correlated with whether they followed provider advice.

"The results of this poll suggest several take-home messages. Parents need to ask for clarification or specific examples if they are unsure about what the provider is saying, or why it's important," the authors write. "Providers should work on using clear language, asking parents about their concerns, and giving practical examples of what works with children of different ages."

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