- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Know your BMI: Docs urged to screen for obesity
WASHINGTON (AP) - Chances are you know your blood pressure. What about your BMI?
Body mass index signals if you’re overweight, obese or just right considering your height. Some doctors have begun calling it a vital sign, as crucial to monitor as blood pressure.
But apparently not enough doctors check: A government panel renewed a call Monday for every adult to be screened for obesity during checkups, suggesting more physicians should be routinely calculating their patients’ BMIs.
And when someone crosses the line into obesity, the doctor needs to do more than mention a diet. It’s time to refer those patients for intensive nutrition-and-fitness help, say the guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Don’t assume your weight’s OK if the doctor doesn’t bring it up.
Patients “should be asking what their BMI is, and tracking that over time,” says task force member Dr. David Grossman, medical director for preventive care at the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle.
By the numbers: A normal BMI is less than 25. Obesity begins at 30. In between is considered overweight. To calculate yours: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi.
The advice sounds like a no-brainer, considering the national anxiety about our growing waistlines. Two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese. Some 17 percent of children and teens are obese, on the road to diabetes, heart disease and other ailments before they’re even grown.
The task force has recommended adult obesity screening previously, and similar guidelines urge tracking whether youngsters are putting on too many pounds.
Yet BMI remains a mystery for many people. A 2010 survey of members of the American Academy of Family Physicians found up to 40 percent of those primary care doctors were computing their patients’ BMIs. Surveys show only about a third of obese patients recall their doctor counseling them about weight loss, even though people whose doctors discuss the problem are more likely to do something about it.
Doctors can struggle with the pounds, too, and Johns Hopkins University researchers recently reported that overweight physicians were less likely than skinnier ones to advise their patients about weight loss.
Why the reluctance? One reason: Few doctors are trained to treat obesity, they’re discouraged by yo-yo dieting but they don’t know what to advise, says Dr. Glen Stream, president of the physicians’ group. His Spokane, Wash., practice uses electronic medical records that automatically calculate BMI when a patient’s height and weight is entered.
“Our American culture is always looking for an easy fix, a pill for every problem,” Stream says. “The updated recommendation is important because it makes clear exactly what doctors should do to help.”
In Monday’s Annals of Internal Medicine, the task force concluded high-intensity behavioral interventions are the best non-surgical advice for the obese, citing insufficient evidence about lasting effects from weight-loss medications.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow