General Health Topics


What are parents worried about? Health problems and health concerns for children

September 1, 2012

Garbutt JM, Leege E, Sterkel R, Gentry S, Wallendorf M, Strunk RC. What are parents worried about? Health problems and health concerns for children. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2012 Sep;51(9):840-7. doi: 10.1177/0009922812455093. Epub 2012 Jul 26. PMID: 22843294; PMCID: PMC3608110.


Patient-centered care requires pediatricians to address parents’ health concerns, but their willingness to solicit parental concerns may be limited by uncertainty about which topics will be raised. We conducted surveys of parents to identify current health-related issues of concern.


Participants rated 30 items as health problems for children in their community (large, medium, small, or no problem) and volunteered concerns for their own children.


1,119 parents completed the survey. Allergies (69%), lack of exercise (68%), asthma (65%), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (65%), Internet safety (63%), obesity (59%), smoking (58%), and bullying (57%) were identified as important problems (large or medium), with variation among demographic subgroups. Concerns for their own children included healthy nutrition, obesity, and lack of exercise, healthy growth and development, safety and injury prevention, and mental health issues.


Parents’ health concerns for children are varied and may differ from those routinely addressed during well-child care.