Only 36.7 percent of overweight youths, or their parents, were warned about their weight status by a doctor or other health-care professional, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that analyzed data collected between 1999 and 2002.
While 43.7 percent of black, non-Hispanic children and teenagers (or their parents) who were overweight were told so by doctors or other health professionals, 37.3 percent of such Mexican-American youths and 34.7 percent of such white youths (or their parents) were informed they were overweight by such health professionals.
For the report, the Atlanta-based CDC analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which quizzed the parents of 2- to 19-year-olds on their awareness of the children’s and teenagers’ weight status between 1999 and 2002.
The report says that by discussing weight status with young overweight patients and their parents, pediatric-health providers might help the patients adopt lifelong improvements in diet and physical activity. Annual well-child visits to health-care professionals should include a measurement using the body-mass index, a step recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC says. The federal agency warns that without intervention, many overweight children will grow up to be overweight or obese adults. Weight adds to the risk of a range of health problems.
A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 2005 edition of Education Week