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by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Screening for Obesity

Screening is done to find a health problem early and treat it. Tests are often given to people who do not have signs but who may be at high risk for the health problem.
All children (aged 2 years and older) should be screened for obesity at each routine doctor visit. Adults should be screened for obesity each year. Screening includes checking weight and height. Body mass index (BMI) will be found by dividing a person's weight by their height. A person's waist and hips may also be measured.
Screening may include asking about behaviors, such as:
  • Food choices
  • Breastfeeding knowledge
  • Reading food labels
  • Food portion sizes
  • Physical activity
These questions can help the doctor give education to help prevent obesity.


Heymsfield SB, Wadden TA. Mechanisms, pathophysiology, and management of Obesity. N Engl J Med. 2017;376(3):254-266.
Obesity. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/nutritional-disorders/obesity-and-the-metabolic-syndrome/obesity. Accessed May 6, 2022.
Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/obesity-in-adults. Accessed May 6, 2022.
Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. https://www.dynamed.com/condition/obesity-in-children-and-adolescents. Accessed May 6, 2022.
Treatment. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/treatment. Accessed May 6, 2022.

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