Health experts now widely agree that child obesity prevention needs to start in the doctor’s office. According to new draft guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, pediatricians and other clinical professionals are urged to identify children ages 6 and up with weight control issues by checking patients’ body mass indexes and intervening. These intensive behavioral interventions will be followed by weight counseling programs for children and teens.
The main goal of these new guidelines is to prevent a lifetime of obesity for these children. Universal child obesity screening has the potential to significantly decrease the number of obese adults in the future. Changing eating habits early on is a surefire way to cut the odds of a lifetime of obesity. Almost 80% of obese teens are on the fast track to becoming obese as adults.
The task force implemented programs that included counseling for children and family members, along with the teaching of improved eating habits and how to exercise safely. While universal screening is not the magic solution to child obesity, the risks are virtually nonexistent. In other words, it certainly can’t hurt. The reduction of child obesity would result in significantly less medical, physical, and psychological problems in children.