Introduction to Issues and Implications of Screening, Surveillance, and Reporting of Children's BMI

In January 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) convened a forum of researchers and practitioners working on the issue of childhood obesity to discuss the issues related to surveillance, screening and reporting of children's body mass index (BMI). Because obesity has become a major concern of the Foundation, it seemed essential to understand the use and limitations of the BMI measurement on which the diagnosis of obesity depended. The goals of the meeting were to gather and review experience in the collection of BMI data and to understand how to communicate BMI results to parents. In addition, the group explored cultural differences in how the BMI was interpreted, and considered the legal and confidentiality implications of collecting and reporting BMI data.

This article introduces several key research questions that participants generally agreed should be pursued. The following articles contained in this supplement to Pediatrics address the issues explored at the forum in further detail.