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Pediatrics. 2011 Aug;128(2):e317-23. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2559. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

The association of BMI status with adolescent preventive screening.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.



To examine the relationship between BMI status (normal, overweight, and obese) and preventive screening among adolescents at their last checkup.


We used population-based data from the 2003-2007 California Health Interview Surveys, telephone interviews of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years with a checkup in the past 12 months (n = 9220). Respondents were asked whether they received screening for nutrition, physical activity, and emotional distress. BMI was calculated from self-reported height and weight: (1) normal weight or underweight (<85th percentile); (2) overweight (85th-94th percentile); and (3) obese (>95th percentile). Multivariate logistic regression models tested how screening by topic differed according to BMI status, adjusting for age, gender, income, race/ethnicity, and survey year.


Screening percentages in the pooled sample (all 3 years) were higher for obese, but not overweight, adolescents for physical activity (odds ratio: 1.4; P < .01) and nutrition (odds ratio: 1.6; screening did not differ P < .01). Stratified analysis by year revealed higher screening for obese (versus normal-weight) adolescents for nutrition and physical activity in 2003 and for all 3 topics in 2005. However, by 2007, screening did not differ according to BMI status. Overall screening between 2003 and 2007 declined for nutrition (75%-59%; P < .01), physical activity (74%-60%; P < .01), and emotional distress (31%-24%; P < .01).


Obese adolescents receive more preventive screening versus their normal-weight peers. Overweight adolescents do not report more screening, but standards of care dictate increased attention for this group. These results are discouraging amid a rise in pediatric obesity and new guidelines that recommend screening by BMI status.

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