Objective: Patterns of health behaviour and lifestyle established in childhood carry on into adulthood. Parents and carers have strong influences on the establishment of these patterns. Despite such influences, parents and carers are often omitted from the planning process in health-promotion and early intervention activities. This paper examines the literature to quantify the amount of consultation that occurs. Method: A systemic review of the available literature was conducted of papers published in English between 1998 and 2008 using OVID, Medline, CIAP, CINAHL, PsycINFO, SPORTDiscus, INFORMET and PubMed databases. The search was not limited to age; however, some papers indicted that their research were restricted to children over the age of five. Results: Three hundred and thirty one articles were retrieved of which 32 met the inclusion criteria. It was found that parents and carers are reliable and accurate reporters of the objective components of their child's health, such as physical functioning, but unreliable when it comes to subjective components including pain and emotional psychosocial functioning of their children. However, parents and carers are often omitted or at best superficially included in the development of health-promotion and early intervention programmes in Australia. Conclusions: The lack of consultation with parents and carers in health-promotion and early interventions programmes by policy makers, programme developers and health advocates results in decreased consumer ownership, dissatisfaction with service delivery and creates barriers to engagement. Without adequate and appropriate engagement of parents and carers, early interventions and health-promotion programmes will result in superficial and short-term health outcomes.
- carers and children
- health promotion