USPSTF Orders Docs to Screen for Obesity

If you have ever wondered why you don’t know your BMI or even what BMI means, it may be because many doctors do not include an assessment of BMI in their consultations.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has issued guidelines to practitioners to begin informing patients of their BMI and discussing the risks of excess weight and obesity.

BMI stands for body mass index. It is the standard in the United States to classify individuals as underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese. Industry experts often debate the validity of this system because it is merely a height to weight ratio and does not take into account bone density or muscle mass. (Individuals with increased muscle mass and women with excess fat and very little muscle will have BMIs that do not represent their actual classification.)

Nonetheless, for a majority of the population the system works and the USPSTF is urging doctors to discuss BMI and weight management with their patients. People tend to respect the opinions and advice of their doctors and believe that making BMI part of the screening process, along with recommendations for weight loss programs, will improve weight management efforts for many individuals.

Learn more about your BMI and classification from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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