Facilitating the Routine Use of Body Mass Index (BMI) in Primary Care Child Health Practices

Assessing and overcoming barriers to routine body mass index screening for youth

From January 2004 to September 2005, researchers from the University of Rochester Center for Child Health Research collected, synthesized and disseminated information about barriers and facilitators to the routine use of Body Mass Index (BMI) assessment in primary care child health practices.

Key Results

  • The research team:

    • Wrote a paper—"Screening for Obesity in Pediatric Primary Care: A Review of the Literature"—that outlined a potential chronic care model and other opportunities for improving obesity-related interventions in the pediatric primary care setting.
    • Assisted the federal Health Resources and Services Administration's Bureau of Primary Health Care and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to develop a collaborative learning activity focusing in part on diagnosing and treating childhood obesity.
    • Contributed to the development of the agenda for a National Congress on Accelerating Improvement in Childhood Obesity, held in September 2006. It focused on reducing childhood obesity by accelerating improvement of clinical services.

Key Conclusions

  • BMI is useful but underutilized, and thus childhood obesity and risk for it may go undetected and untreated.

  • Clinicians have unique opportunities to address childhood obesity, but cannot do so without monitoring weight trends.

  • Further efforts are needed to overcome barriers to the adoption of BMI screening and to improve community and clinical strategies to address childhood obesity.