Percentage of patients 3-17 years of age who had an outpatient visit with a primary care physician (PCP) or obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) and who had evidence of the following during the measurement period.
- Percentage of patients with height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) percentile documentation
- Percentage of patients with counseling for nutrition
- Percentage of patients with counseling for physical activity
Over the last four decades, childhood obesity has more than tripled in children and adolescents 2 to 19 years of age (from a rate of approximately 5 percent to 18.5 percent) (Fryar, Carroll, & Ogden, 2014; Hales et al., 2017). Non-Hispanic black and Hispanic youth are more likely to be obese than their non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Asian counterparts. In 2015-2016, approximately 22 percent of non-Hispanic black and 26 percent of Hispanic youth were obese compared to approximately 14 percent of non-Hispanic white and 11 percent of non-Hispanic Asian youth (Hales et al., 2017).
Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being. Children who are obese have higher rates of physical health conditions, such as risk factors for cardiovascular disease (like high blood pressure and high cholesterol), type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, and joint problems. There is also a correlation between childhood obesity and mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). In addition, children who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults and are therefore at risk for adult health problems, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and several types of cancer (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).
The direct medical costs associated with childhood obesity total about $19,000 per child, contributing to the $14 billion spent on care related to childhood obesity in the United States (Finkelstein, Graham, & Malhotra, 2014).
Because obesity can become a lifelong health issue, it is important to screen for obesity in children and adolescents, and to provide interventions that promote weight loss (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, 2017).
Clinical Recommendation Statement
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2017) - The Task Force recommends that clinicians screen for obesity in children and adolescents 6 years and older and offer or refer them to comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions to promote improvements in weight status. (B recommendation)
American Academy of Pediatrics – Bright Futures (Hagan, Shaw, & Duncan, 2017)
- Plot and assess BMI percentiles routinely for early recognition of overweight and obesity.
- Assess barriers to healthy eating and physical activity.
- Provide anticipatory guidance for nutrition and physical activity.