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Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Screening and Interventions for Overweight in Children and Adolescents

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Release Date: July 2005

Summary of Recommendation / Supporting Documents

Summary of Recommendation

  • The USPSTF concludes that the evidence is insufficient to recommend for or against routine screening for overweight in children and adolescents as a means to prevent adverse health outcomes.

    Rating: "I" statement.

    Rationale: Approximately 15 percent of children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years are overweight and are at risk for diabetes, elevated blood lipids, increased blood pressure and their sequelae, as well as slipped capital femoral epiphysis, steatohepatitis, sleep apnea, and psychosocial problems. The USPSTF found fair evidence that body mass index (BMI) is a reasonable measure for identifying children and adolescents who are overweight or are at risk for becoming overweight. There is fair evidence that overweight adolescents and children aged 8 years and older are at increased risk for becoming obese adults. The USPSTF found insufficient evidence for the effectiveness of behavioral counseling or other preventive interventions with overweight children and adolescents that can be conducted in primary care settings or to which primary care clinicians can make referrals. There is insufficient evidence to ascertain the magnitude of the potential harms of screening or prevention and treatment interventions. The USPSTF was, therefore, unable to determine the balance between potential benefits and harms for the routine screening of children and adolescents for overweight.

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Supporting Documents

Screening and Interventions for Overweight in Children and Adolescents, July 2005
Recommendation Statement (PDF File, 155 KB; PDF Help)
Commentary (PDF File, 62 KB; PDF Help)
Summary of the Evidence (PDF File, 2 MB; PDF Help)
Evidence Synthesis (PDF File Download)
Video: How to Talk with Your Patients When Evidence Is Insufficient (3:30 minutes, Windows Media®)

Note: If you cannot see the captioning in Windows Media® Player, press "CTRL + SHIFT + C" (or select: Play > Captions and Subtitles > Captions).

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Current as of July 2005

Internet Citation:

Screening and Interventions for Overweight in Children and Adolescents, Topic Page. July 2005. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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