Less may mean more when physicians advise parents on prevention

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 5, 2005

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When physicians focus on fewer health prevention topics when counseling parents of young children, the information is more likely to be remembered, according to a study in the November/December Ambulatory Pediatrics.

Researchers studied more than 800 parents from across the country who brought their children ages 2 to 11 in for a well-child visit. Physicians and parents were surveyed after the appointment about the number of subjects, including child safety topics, discussed. One month later, parents were interviewed about what they remembered. When physicians discussed more than nine topics in a single visit, the recall went down significantly. When the number dipped below four, the amount of information remembered went up.

"The bottom line is that more information is not always better," said Shari Barkin, MD, study leader and associate professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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