American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends Annual Body-Mass Index Evaluations for Children
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all children should have their body-mass index evaluated yearly to identify and prevent obesity, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The new policy, published in this month's issue of Pediatrics, is the academy's first policy statement involving identifying and preventing childhood obesity and was prompted by "worrisome data" on obesity in children, the AP/Times reports. Recent studies found that approximately 15% of children in America between ages six and 19 are severely overweight or obese based on BMI, a height-to-weight ratio. The new policy suggests that pediatricians "keep obesity prevention in mind" when tracking children's height and weight, the AP/Times reports. The new policy also recommends pediatricians identify and track patients with increased risk of obesity because of family history, racial or cultural factors; encourage physical activity and ask parents to limit children's television viewing to no more than two hours per day; encourage parents to promote healthy eating; encourage breast feeding, which some studies have suggested could reduce a child's risk of obesity; and promote community anti-obesity programs (Tanner, AP/Contra Costa Times, 8/4). The policy also encourages pediatricians to discuss health habits with parents, coaches and other people who influence youths to help prevent obesity (Schevitz, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/4).
Obesity has begun to "threate[n] to tax the resources of hospitals worldwide," CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said at a conference yesterday, the Contra Costa Times reports. Speaking to attendees at the 33rd International Hospital Congress and American Hospital Association Leadership Summit in San Francisco, Gerberding said obesity is quickly approaching tobacco use as the leading cause of death worldwide. "It is the new global threat," she said (Rosen Lum, Contra Costa Times, 8/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.