Recently, I attended a fellow student’s mock seminar on engagement in pediatric weight management. Based on this presentation, discussion ensued regarding how to define the concept of engagement…. should we characterize it based on what it is (i.e., actions performed that benefit the individual or others) or what it isn’t (e.g., not initiating treatment)?
This got me thinking about how issues regarding childhood obesity are framed. For example, in a recent paper, the authors suggest communicating the positive impact of drinking water as opposed to the negative impact of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages.
This is an important issue to consider when communicating health information to children and their families. As I’ve written about before, gain- (i.e., communicating positive outcomes of a socially acceptable behavior) and loss- (i.e., communicating negative outcomes of a socially unacceptable behavior) framed messages need to approached with care, particularly with respect to sensitive health issues like obesity in children.