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Few parents always abide by doctors' advice, survey shows

Posted On Fri, March 22, 2013

While loving parents always want what's best for their young children, a small percentage of moms and dads follow what their pediatrician tells them to do to the letter.

According to a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, less than one-third - 31 percent - of parents say that they always follow their doctors' orders when it comes to child rearing. Approximately one in every 10 said that they adhered to their doctors' advice occasionally but not every time. The majority - 56 percent - said they stuck to what their doctor told them to do most of the time.

The poll also analyzed how likely parents were to follow specific types of advice, such as having them see the dentist, following a healthy meal plan or using car and booster seats. For respondents who said that they did what their doctor advised them to do occasionally, they usually followed their pediatrician's nutrition suggestions. However, they were the least likely to take advantage of their counsel with respect to discipline. Four in 10 said that they rarely abided by their doctors' advice concerning behavior and how to effectively deal with punishments.

"During well-child visits, health care providers give parents and guardians advice about how to keep their kids healthy and safe," said Sarah Clark, associate director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan. "This poll suggests that many parents aren't heeding that advice consistently, putting kids at risk for long-lasting health concerns."

Where many parents do tow the line is with respect to health insurance coverage. According to statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services, fewer children today are uninsured than they were in recent years, regardless of the cost of health insurance rates. This may stem from the provision within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which enables kids to stay on their parents plan until they turn 26.

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