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November 16, 2020

Weight-Focused Public Health Interventions—No Benefit, Some Harm

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Adolescent Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University, College Station
  • 4Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA Pediatr. Published online November 16, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.4777

Concern regarding childhood obesity remains a primary focus of public health officials, clinicians, individuals, and families in the United States. Accordingly, numerous weight-focused public health interventions, such as school-based body mass index (BMI) screenings and report cards sent home to notify parents of their child’s weight status, have been developed. Although the goal of these interventions is to reduce obesity, the percentage of youths with elevated BMIs has continued to grow,1 and, correspondingly, so too has the percentage of youths experiencing weight stigma and body dissatisfaction.2

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