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Medical News and Perspectives
June 27, 2007

Improved Use of BMI Needed to Screen Children for Overweight

JAMA. 2007;297(24):2684-2685. doi:10.1001/jama.297.24.2684

It sounds relatively simple: measure a child's height and weight and use those numbers to calculate body mass index (BMI), a reliable gauge of body fatness. But new research shows that despite recommendations from prominent health groups, pediatricians have not widely adopted the practice.

At best, roughly half of pediatricians use BMI percentile measurements to assess overweight, but the figure dips to as few as 6% in some areas. The result is missed diagnoses of overweight and lost opportunities to help pediatric patients maintain a healthful weight and prevent comorbidities.

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