Obese, Not Overweight Teens Get More Preventive Screening

Overall decline in screening for nutrition, physical activity, emotional distress from 2003 to 2007

MONDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- More preventive screening is provided to obese adolescents than those who are overweight or normal weight, according to a study published online July 18 in Pediatrics.

Carolyn Bradner Jasik, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues investigated the relationship between body mass index (BMI) status and preventive screening in adolescents. Data were collected from 9,220 respondents, aged 12 to 17 years, from the 2003 to 2007 California Health Interview Surveys. Participants were asked whether they had received screening for nutrition, physical activity, and emotional distress at a health checkup in the past 12 months. Based on BMI calculated from self-reported weight and height, participants were divided into normal weight or underweight (less than the 85th percentile), overweight (85th to 94th percentile), and obese (greater than the 95th percentile) groups.

The investigators found that, compared to overweight adolescents, significantly higher screening percentages were seen for obese adolescents for physical activity (odds ratio [OR], 1.4) and nutrition (OR, 1.6) in the pooled sample (2003 to 2007). In stratified analysis by year, higher screening was seen for nutrition and physical activity in obese versus normal weight adolescents in 2003, and for all three topics in 2005. By 2007, there was no difference in screening based on BMI status. Overall screening for all groups declined significantly for nutrition (from 75 to 59 percent), physical activity (from 74 to 60 percent), and emotional distress (from 31 to 24 percent) from 2003 to 2007.

"Obese adolescents receive more preventive screening versus their normal-weight peers. Overweight adolescents do not report more screening, but standards of care dictate increased attention for this group," the authors write.

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