22 Jun USPSTF Recommends Children and Adolescents Be Screened For Obesity
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David C. Grossman, M.D., M.P.H.
US Preventive Services Task Force Chair
Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Senior Associate Medical Director, Market Strategy & Public Policy
Kaiser Permanente Washington
Physician, Washington Permanente Medical Group, Pediatrics
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this recommendation?
Response: Recognizing that obesity is a nation-wide health problem, affecting approximately 17% of 2-to 19-year-old children and adolescents in the U.S., the Task Force finalized its recommendation on screening for obesity in children and adolescents and the benefits and harms of weight management interventions. The Task Force found sufficient evidence to recommend screening for obesity in children and adolescents age 6 years and older and then offering or referring those who are found to be obese comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions to manage their weight and improve overall health.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the potential benefits and harms of early screening and intervention for obesity in children?
Response: The Task Force found that intensive behavioral interventions for children and adolescents who have obesity can result in benefits of improvement in weight status for up to 12 months’ post-intervention. Additionally, the evidence indicated very little harm from screening and comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions. This is due to likely minimal harms of using BMI (body mass index), the absence of reported harms of behavioral interventions, and the noninvasive nature of the programs.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Children and adolescents age 6 years and older should be screened for obesity. Those who are found to be obese should then be offered or referred to comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions to manage their weight and improve their overall health.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: The Task Force hopes that future research will focus on evaluating the benefit and harms of screening children and adolescents for obesity, as well as evaluating which specific components of behavioral interventions are the most effective. Additionally, the Task Force future research includes studies with longer follow-up periods of participants to confirm whether weight reduction is maintained and whether there are longer-term harms. Lastly, additional research is needed to address behavioral interventions in diverse populations, younger children, and in children who are overweight but not obese.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: This final recommendation updates and reaffirms the 2016 draft and 2010 final recommendation statements. It stresses the importance of screening children and adolescents for obesity, and offering or recommending behavioral health interventions to those found to be obese.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Obesity in Children and AdolescentsUS Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2017;317(23):2417-2426. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.6803
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