Federal task force recommends BMI screening for adults

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 9, 2012

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Physicians should screen adult patients for obesity using the body mass index measurement, which is calculated based on a person’s height and weight, says the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

For individuals found to be obese with a BMI of 30 or higher, doctors should offer, or refer them for, intensive behavioral interventions to help them lose weight. Such interventions have been shown to help people lose an average of 8.8 to 15.4 pounds, said the recommendation published online June 26 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The report comes in response to rising obesity rates. In the U.S. in 2007-2008, 40% of men and 28% of women were overweight, and 32% of men and 36% of women were obese. About one in 20 Americans has a BMI of more than 40, the task force said (link).

Obesity is associated with a variety of health problems, including increased risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. In adults younger than 65, in particular, it is associated with an increased risk of death.

The report is a follow-up to the task force’s 2003 recommendation that found BMI an acceptable measure of identifying overweight adults.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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