Annual BMI Check-Up?

Do you know your child’s BMI?

KidsVegetablesThis week, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a recommendation for childhood obesity screening.  The task force recommends that “clinicians screen children aged 6 years and older for obesity and offer them or refer them to intensive counseling and behavioral interventions to promote improvements in weight status.”

Twelve to 18 percent of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 are obese and are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, asthma and even nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.  Obesity also increases risk for certain cancers – so the long term consequences are serious.  Identifying these high risk children is only the first step in making a difference.  The second part of the recommendation – referring them to appropriate programs – is really the key to this report.

The Task Force reviewed over a dozen studies on behavioral programs targeted to overweight and obese children and adolescents.  They found that comprehensive programs using counseling, physical activity programs and behavioral management techniques were successful for modest weight loss that continued for at least 12 months after the program ended.

There are successful models and programs around the country for children and adolescents who struggle with overweight and obesity.  But in areas where these programs aren’t available, what will the clinicians do once they’ve identified at risk children?

Hopefully this report will help spur the growth of effective comprehensive programs that involve the entire family so that any lifestyle and behavioral change made by the child will be sustainable.

What do you think of the new recommendations?  Do you know of any comprehensive programs for children or adolescents in your community?


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