Readability and content analysis of lifestyle education resources for weight management in Australian general practice

El- Haddad N, Spooner S, Faruqi F, Denney-Wilson E, Harris M
Publication type: 
Conference presentation
Stream 2 Disadvantaged populations

Dietitians Association of Australia 33rd National Conference, Melbourne

Background: One in five Australian adults have low health literacy. Educational resources for weight management that place less demand on patient’s literacy could provide a way for general practitioners to reinforce verbal information and to promote behaviour change in patients with obesity. This study aimed to assess the readability of resources for weight management and to analyse the content of the resources.

Methods: Twenty-three resources from the waiting room of ten Sydney general practices and two clinical software packages fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Fry Readability Graph, and the Simplified Measure of Gobbledygook were used to calculate the resources’ reading grade level. Resource contents were analysed for dietary, physical activity, and behaviour change elements as recommended by the Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, adolescents, and children in Australia.

Results: The average reading grade level was for a 10th grader (9.5 ± 1.8). Seventy percent of resources covered dietary and behaviour change elements. Physical activity was covered in half of the resources. Two messages were identified to be inconsistent with the guidelines and three messages had no scientific basis.

Conclusion: 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 the GPs. 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.