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June 20, 2017

Putting the US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation for Childhood Obesity Screening in Context

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA. 2017;317(23):2378-2380. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.3434

In this issue of JAMA, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that clinicians screen for obesity in children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 years and refer those with an age- and sex-specific body mass index at the 95th percentile or greater to comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions (B grade).1 This recommendation confirms what pediatric primary care clinicians and others do in the everyday care of children: monitor growth, counsel on healthy lifestyles, and refer when appropriate. Well-child care began with maternal education and use of child weighing stations in the late 1800s to address malnutrition. Today, many overweight and obese children and adolescents have a different type of malnutrition, and assessing growth and development has become increasingly important.