How is children’s weight status assessed for early identification of overweight and obesity? – Narrative review of programs for weight status assessment

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Journal Article
Journal of Child Health Care, 2018, 22 (3), pp. 486 - 500
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© The Author(s) 2018. Assessment of a child’s weight status is the first step in the management of childhood overweight and obesity. We reviewed routine assessment programs to inform early and routine identification of childhood overweight and obesity to address this global health issue. Twelve electronic databases were searched (Scopus, Web of Science, Wiley, ScienceDirect, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, PsycEXTRA, CINAHL, Primary Search, MEDLINE, ERIC, Academic Search Elite) for universal programs for weight status assessment of children aged 4–12 in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – countries, which included more than one assessment and parents receiving feedback. Of 1638 papers found via database searches, and 18 additional records identified through other sources, 26 were included. Reference to five countries’ programs for weight status assessment was found in the results: Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. All of these programs were implemented in a school setting. Lack of services, stakeholder collaboration, parental awareness and engagement and government funding need to be improved for this health check to be undertaken as a part of an ongoing program. This review is about the implementation of similar programs. Early identification of risk for overweight and obesity allows families that require help to connect with available health services.
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