Childhood obesity,Obesity,Pediatrics,Screening (medicine),Child,Body mass index,Adolescence,Hypertension,Clinic,Insulin

To fight childhood obesity, task force recommends screening all kids starting at age 6

November 2, 2016
in Kids

In a draft recommendation, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says all children ages 6 and older should be screened for obesity. (Radius TWC) The fight against childhood obesity should begin in doctors’ offices with routine weight screening for all kids ages 6 and up, according to fresh advice from health experts. Draft guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force urge pediatricians and other clinicians to check the body mass index of children and adolescents to identify patients who would benefit from weight counseling programs. These “comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions” have been shown to help participants change the trajectory of their weight gain, cutting their odds of a lifetime of obesity. For kids, the official definition of obesity is having a body mass index in the top 5% for one’s age and gender, based on official growth charts. Ideally, that means only 5% of children and teens are obese. But in America today, 17% of kids have a BMI high enough to fit that description. (Another 32% are overweight, with a BMI that puts them between the top 5% and 15% on growth charts.) Children who are obese suffer health problems such as asthma, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and orthopedic issues. They are also more likely to develop psychological and mental health problems, according to research reviewed by the task force. Reducing childhood obesity would reduce the incidence of these medical issues. But the larger goal of screening is to make a...

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