CMS 155 V2 – Weight Assessment and Counseling for Nutrition and Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents

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Create DateDecember 15, 2015
Last UpdatedDecember 15, 2015

"One of the most important developments in pediatrics in the past two decades has been the emergence of a new chronic disease: obesity in childhood and adolescence. The rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity among children is one of the most challenging dilemmas currently facing pediatricians. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data from Cycle II (1976-1980) compared with data from Cycle III (1988-1994) documents an increase in the prevalence of obesity in all age, ethnic, and gender groups. NHANES data collected from 1999-2000 revealed a continued increase in the number of obese children. In that data collection, the prevalence of obesity (body mass index (BMI) > 95th percentile) was 10 percent among children 2-5 years of age and 15 percent among children 6-19 years of age. When children at risk for obesity (BMI of 85th-94th percentile) were included, the prevalence increased to 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Therefore, >1 of every 4 patients examined by pediatricians either is obese or is considered to be at high risk for developing this challenging health problem (O'Brien et al. 2004).

In addition to the growing prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents, the number of overweight children at risk of becoming obese is also of great concern. Evidence suggests that overweight children and adolescents are more likely to become obese as adults. For example, one study found that approximately 80 percent of children who were overweight at age 10-15 years were obese adults at age 25 years (Whitaker et al. 1997). Another study found that 25 percent of obese adults were overweight as children. The latter study also found that if overweight begins before 8 years of age, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe (Freedman et al. 2001)."