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Hygieia
  1. Glenys Hughes
  1. ghughes@bmjgroup.com

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    SCREENING FOR CHILDHOOD OBESITY IN THE UK

    While population monitoring has been introduced in UK primary schools in an effort to track the growing obesity epidemic, a review commissioned by the Health Technology Assessment Programme found a lack of data on the potential impact of the screening and recommends more research as a priority. It has been argued that parents should be informed of their child’s results. The review looked at the evidence that moving from monitoring to screening would be more effective. The review took as its data source published and unpublished studies (any language) from electronic databases, clinical experts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, and reference lists of retrieved studies. Studies whose primary outcome was population prevalence were excluded. The review found that there were no trials assessing the effectiveness of monitoring or screening for obesity. Instead, studies had focused on diagnostic accuracy of measurements. Information on attitudes of children, parents and health professionals was sparse. The review found that more large-scale studies are needed to identify effective weight reduction strategies for children and clarification of the role of preventive measures. If effective treatments can be found, effort should be focused upon methods of identifying overweight and obese children without stigmatisation …

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