Body Mass Index Measurement in Schools -- Childhood Overweight
Measuring the body mass index (BMI) of students in schools is an approach to address obesity that is attracting much attention across the nation from researchers, school officials, legislators, and the media.1-7 In 2005, the Institute of Medicine called upon the federal government to develop guidance for BMI measurement programs in schools.8 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention produced "Body Mass Index Measurement in Schools" to describe the purpose of school-based BMI surveillance and screening programs, examine current practices, and review research on BMI measurement programs. The article summarizes the recommendations of experts, identifies concerns surrounding programs, and outlines needs for future research. Guidance is provided on specific safeguards that need to be addressed before schools decide to collect BMI information.
The full journal article is available from the American School Health Association Web site.*
Suggested Citation: Nihiser AJ, Lee SM, Wechsler H, McKenna M, Odom E, Reinold C, Thompson D, Grummer-Strawn L. Body Mass Index Measurement in Schools. Journal of School Health. 2007;77(10):651–671.
PB, Woodward-Lopez G, Ikeda JP. Weighing the risks and
benefits of BMI reporting in the school setting. Center
for Weight and Health; 2006. Available at: http://nature.berkeley.edu/cwh/PDFs/BMI_report_cards.pdf*
August 7, 2006.
LM. School health report cards attempt to address the
obesity epidemic. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004;104(3):341–344.
JP, Crawford PB, Woodward-Lopez G. BMI screening in
schools: helpful or harmful. Health Educ Res.
A, Ziolkowski GA. School-based body mass index screening
program. Nutr Today. 2006;41(6):274–279.
J. As obesity fight hits cafeteria, many fear a note
from school. New York Times; January 9, 2007.
Associated Press. Arkansas to flunk obesity report cards.
The Associated Press; February 5, 2007.
LM. Potential problems with school health report cards.
J Am Diet Assoc. 2004;104(4):525–527.
- Institute of Medicine. Preventing childhood obesity: Health in the balance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2005.
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