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BMI tests at risk of missing obese children

According to new research, the Body Mass Index (BMI) assessments that are carried out could miss 25% of children who are obese.

US scientists have warned that this could place them at risk of developing obesity related conditions, like heart disease and diabetes.

BMI tests use height and weight measurements to determine whether a child is overweight or obese. However, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota maintain that other assessments should be used to identify excess weight.

These checks include measuring skin fold thickness and a type of X-ray, which can measure fat content and body composition. Although BMI tests identify children who are obese, the assessments do not include waist measurements. The larger the waist, the greater the child’s risk of developing an obesity-related illness. The senior study author at the Mayo Clinic, Dr Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, said:

“If we are using BMI to find out which children are obese, it works if the BMI is high, but what about the children who have a normal BMI but do have excess fat? Those parents may get a false sense of reassurance that they do not need to focus on a better weight for their children.”

The first author of the study, Dr Asma Javed, spoke of her concern that a large group of children who are overweight and at risk of developing obesity-related conditions later in life could be missed. Schools in the UK are already taking steps to reduce levels of child obesity, such as by introducing healthy tuckshop foods. Lincolnshire schools are among those encouraging a nutritious diet for students.

Posted by Mark
October 23, 2014

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