Tue, Oct 30, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Most parents lack health knowledge: foundation

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Parents and children take part in an event organized by the Child Welfare League Foundation in Taipei yesterday to encourage parents to take an informed approach to preventing and treating children’s influenza.

Photo: Yang Chiu-ying, Taipei Times

While the vast majority of parents are concerned about their children’s health, the Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF) voiced concerns over a survey released yesterday that showed few parents have accurate medical knowledge.

Since Autumn is the season in which children are most likely to catch the flu or a cold, the foundation conducted a survey among parents to learn about their understanding on maintaining their childrens’ health.

The results are worrisome, the foundation said.

“The survey results showed that as many as 90.3 percent of the parents polled are concerned about their children’s health. However, it is worrisome that only 13.8 percent of the respondents have correct medical knowledge,” Chiu Ching-hui (邱靖惠), a section chief at the foundations’s Research and Development Department, told a press conference in Taipei.

“Some of the more serious problems include not keeping a medical record of their child, being too worried when their children are sick, getting information from non-authoritative sources, not following doctor’s recommendations and thinking that health supplements are medicines,” Chiu said.

The survey, with 1,122 valid samples collected from parents with children under the age of 12 across the country, showed that about 20 percent of respondents do not keep a record of their children’s health, while more than 50 percent of the parents do not know that there is medication tailored to children’s needs, and therefore never ask doctors for it.

In addition, 53.6 percent of parents said that they would send their children to larger hospitals if their children were sick, 67.6 percent of the respondents would seek treatment or advice from several different doctors at the same time, while 37.3 percent of the respondents said they would take their children to another doctor if the illness was not cured within a week.

“This is not a very good habit because taking children to too many different doctors is a waste of medical resources,” Chiu said.

She added that 73.1 percent of respondents said they obtain medical information from the Internet, 61.6 percent seek information in newspapers and magazines, while 44 percent seek help from friends, but only 33.5 percent get information from professionals in childrens’ clinics and only 25 percent ask for help from general clinics.

“What’s most worrisome is that 60.9 percent of the parents polled said they do not follow doctors’ instructions and make alterations to the advised dose of medicines,” Chiu said.

In addition, 25 percent of the parents polled believe that health supplements are a suitable substitute for medicine, Chiu said.

“Parents play an important role in safeguarding their childrens’ health, but we’d like to urge parents to acquire more medical knowledge through reliable, professional and authoritative sources, and follow doctors’ instructions — otherwise, parental concerns may become a threat to a child’s health,” foundation executive director Chen Li-ju (陳麗如) said.

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