Readability and content analysis of educational resources related to weight management in general practice


Educational resources provide an important adjunct in the chain of communication between practitioners and patients. However, one in five Australian adults have low health literacy.


To assess the readability and analyse the content of weight management resources in the waiting rooms of Sydney-based general practices and clinical software packages.


  1. Twenty-three educational resources from the waiting room of ten Sydney general practices and two clinical software packages
  2. Readability analysis using different readability calculations
  3. Content analysis using the NHMRC obesity guidelines, particularily focusing on dietary, physical activity, and behaviour change elements.


The study found that the resources’ average reading grade level was for a 10th grader. The content analysis found that the majority of resources contained dietary and behaviour change elements. Physical activity was included in half of the resources. Two messages were identified to be inconsistent with the guidelines and three messages had no scientific basis. 

Conclusions and implications for practice:

Educational resources for weight management that place less demand on literacy while covering important weight management messages could provide an effective way to emphasise verbal information communicated by general practitioners. However, this study suggests that educational resources used in Australian general practice fall short of this. This has implications for general practice accreditation, which requires general practices to provide up-to-date resources of high quality and reliability for patients. 

For more information, contact Nouhad (Nina) El-Haddad (PhD Candidate):