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Do You Make Snap Decisions?
If a child or adolescent looks like he or she is within normal weight limits, do you still calculate BMI and plot the BMI percentile? Do you talk about healthy food choices and regular exercise?
Visual inspection is becoming an increasingly poor method for clinicians to recognize obesity. As the population of children and adolescents achieves a higher mean BMI, the perception of what appears normal or average also changes.
Despite some limitations, BMI is still the most useful method for assessing obesity in the clinical setting. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend the use of BMI to screen for overweight and obesity in children beginning at 2 years old. Yet BMI percentiles are not widely documented in pediatric practice.
Improve Your Medical Record Documentation
When EmblemHealth conducts medical record reviews, we look for evidence that you have calculated BMI and plotted the BMI percentile. We also look for evidence that you have counseled your patients and their caregivers about maintaining healthy eating and exercising habits.
Calculating BMI from height and weight measurements and plotting BMI percentiles based on the patient’s age and sex is performed by many electronic health records (EHRs). As an additional resource, the Weight Management Resources page on our Web site features BMI calculators for adults and children and links to web-based weight management resources available through the New York City Department of Health, New York State Department of Health and CDC.
There are also excellent resources for both health professionals and parents on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Web site, including Fun Family Recipes, Tip Sheets for Parents and ways to challenge kids to eat right and move more. Please consider sharing this information with your patients.