Arkansas' Experience: Statewide Surveillance and Parental Information on the Child Obesity Epidemic
Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, 1401 W Capitol, Suite 300, Victory Building, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 09/2009; 124 Suppl 1(Supplement):S73-82. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2008-3586J
Parents, clinicians, public health officials, and policy makers need readily available information on the extent of the childhood obesity epidemic. As in any epidemic, the strategies and tools used to combat the imminent threat are frequently based on scientific rationale and experience but applied in areas in which we lack complete understanding. The urgent need for information requires execution of decisions that are not risk-free--such is the case of BMI screening obesity. Use of BMI percentiles to classify weight status among youth and quantify the epidemic can inform and engage parents and other key stakeholders. Arkansas has completed its sixth year of BMI screenings for public school students. Through a groundbreaking legislative mandate that requires BMI assessments in public schools, the state has achieved both enhanced awareness among parents and their children and increased engagement by school, clinical, public health, and community leaders in response to the epidemic. External evaluations conducted since institution of BMI assessments have revealed none of the initially feared negative consequences of BMI measurements such as teasing, use of diet pills, or excessive concerns about weight. In the face of this epidemic, the risks of using BMI assessments in clinical or school-based settings must be recognized but can be managed. Arkansas' Act 1220 and BMI-reporting efforts have not only afforded parents detailed information about their children's health but also provided longitudinal data needed to fully understand the scope of childhood and adolescent obesity in the state and to track progress made in combating this epidemic.
- PEDIATRICS 09/2009; 124 Suppl 1(Supplement):S98-101. DOI:10.1542/peds.2008-3586M · 5.47 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Given the significant health consequences associated with childhood obesity, many states have developed legislation to initiate school-based obesity monitoring programs. Idaho is one of many states without a monitoring program, so collaborations between the State Department of Education and four state universities were developed to institute a body mass index (BMI) monitoring program in grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.
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ABSTRACT: Data on childhood obesity collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helped reveal the nation's epidemic of overweight and obese children. But more information is needed. Collecting body mass index (BMI)-the widely accepted measurement of childhood weight status-at the state and local levels can be instrumental in identifying and tracking obesity trends, designing interventions to help overweight children, and guiding broader policy solutions. Approximately thirty states have enacted or proposed BMI surveillance laws and regulations. Arkansas stands out as the state with the highest-quality surveillance data. Innovative strategies being pursued in a number of other states should be explored for broader dissemination.Health Affairs 03/2010; 29(3):463-72. DOI:10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0733 · 4.97 Impact Factor
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