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Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2010 May;11(2):108-14. doi: 10.1177/1527154410374218. Epub 2010 Aug 2.

School Health Initiatives and Childhood Obesity: BMI screening and reporting.

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  • 1Queensborough Community College, City University of New York, USA.


The prevalence of childhood obesity has reached an epidemic status especially in the United States. Agencies such as the Institute of Medicine, Surgeon General's Office, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have called for action. Schools have been provided with guidelines to address obesity prevention. School-based body mass index screening and parent reporting programs have received a significant amount of attention in the literature. Intended to raise awareness for parents and provide a first step toward intervention for children who are overweight, there is to date limited outcomes of their success. However, one state, Arkansas, with mandated screening has reported success in that following screening in its schools, obesity rates were not increased. A significant concern with screening in schools is its potential harm to children around teasing, body image sensitivity, and possible unhealthy dieting. These controversial issues are explored, and recommendations are suggested for nursing's role in obesity prevention especially in schools.

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