Task force recommends screening children and adolescents for obesity

Research Activities, March 2010, No. 355

Based on new evidence that children and adolescents can be effectively treated for obesity, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that clinicians screen children ages 6 to 18 years for obesity and refer them to programs to improve their weight status. Comprehensive programs include three components: counseling for weight loss or healthy diet; counseling for physical activity or a physical activity program; and behavioral management techniques such as goal setting and self monitoring. Moderate- to high-intensity programs involve more than 25 hours of contact with the child and/or the family over a 6-month period. Families who seek treatment for obesity should look for comprehensive programs that address weight control through healthy food choices, physical activity, and behavioral skill-building.

The recommendation was published in the February issue of Pediatrics and is also available on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Web site at Section 3. Recommendations for Children and Adolescents .

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is the leading independent panel of experts in prevention and primary care. The Task Force, which is supported by AHRQ, conducts rigorous, impartial assessments of the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of a broad range of clinical preventive services, including screening, counseling, and preventive medications. Its recommendations are considered the gold standard for clinical preventive services.

Current as of March 2010
Internet Citation: Task force recommends screening children and adolescents for obesity: Research Activities, March 2010, No. 355. March 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/research-activities/mar10/0310RA21.html