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Task Force: Screen adolescents for obesity

Tuesday, November 8, 2016
By Alexandria Bachert
Alex Kemper

Clinicians should screen children and adolescents for obesity, and promote comprehensive behavioral interventions to improve their weight status, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

There is adequate evidence (B grade) that body mass index (BMI) screening and lifestyle-based weight loss interventions for children and adolescents, ages 6 to 18 years, can effectively lead to improvements in weight status and certain related cardiometabolic factors after 6 to 12 months, according to a task force draft statement.

The statement follows a 2010 recommendation to screen all children ages 6 and older for obesity. Task force member Alex R. Kemper, MD, MPH, of Duke University in Durham, N.C., told MedPage Today that "childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years" and the new draft recommendation is an effort to address the growing issue.

"Both recommendations are largely consistent, reaffirming the importance of screening children and adolescents for obesity and offering or recommending behavioral health interventions, if needed. While the B grade remains unchanged, there was a slight adjustment in adding the word 'adolescents' to further clarify the population included in the recommendation," he told MedPage Today.

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