Doctors urged to measure children’s body mass index

GPs should measure children’s body mass index (BMI) to help curb the growing obesity epidemic, leading academics said.

Obese children pose the threat of a “disease burden” to the population and their parents often do not recognise obesity in their children, they said.

Since children use primary care services about once a year, GPs should use the opportunity to measure their BMI, according to the researchers at University College London’s Institute of Child Health.

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They made their comments after a study, published on, found that obese children have a significantly higher chance of getting heart disease than children of a normal weight.

In an accompanying editorial, Professor Russell Viner and research fellow Lee Hudson write: “Children in most countries visit primary care about once a year, and parents often do not recognise obesity or the associated risks,” they continued.

“Opportunistic measurement of BMI and comorbidities related to obesity in primary care may be a useful first step in helping families move towards tackling childhood obesity.”

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