USPSTF Updates Obesity Screening Recommendations for Children

HealthDay News — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for obesity in children and adolescents aged 6 years and older. These findings form the basis of a final recommendation statement published in the June 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers from the USPSTF reviewed the literature to update the 2010 USPSTF recommendation on screening for obesity in children aged 6 years and older.

The researchers note that comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions with 26 or more hours of direct contact can result in improvements in weight status for up to 12 months in children and adolescents aged 6 years and older with obesity; inadequate evidence was found for the effectiveness of less intensive interventions. The harms of behavioral intervention were small to none, and harms of screening were moderate. Based on these findings, the USPSTF concludes that screening for obesity is of moderate net benefit among children aged 6 years and older (B recommendation). 

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“Parents do not always recognize when their children are overweight, so it is important for clinicians to measure BMI, or body mass index, as part of regular health care,” Task Force chair David C. Grossman, MD, MPH, said in a statement. “Children with obesity should be referred to programs that help them manage weight and improve their overall health.”

Evidence Report
Recommendation Statement