Kathleen M. McTigue, MD, MPH; Russell Harris, MD, MPH; Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, CS
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McTigue K., Harris R., Allan J.; Screening and Interventions for Obesity in Adults. Ann Intern Med. 2004;141:246. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-141-3-200408030-00027
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(3):246.
We agree with Dr. Frühbeck that in this era of epidemic obesity trends, studies citing a lack of weight assessment in the clinical setting are concerning. The current medical literature suggests that timely diagnosis and treatment of obesity may prevent considerable morbidity among U.S. adults. Our goal in addressing obesity measures, therefore, was to identify a screening tool that can be widely applied in clinical practice.
Although BMI has limitations, currently it is the most appropriate initial screening instrument. Other measures may more accurately estimate body fat but are expensive and time-consuming. In clinical practice, BMI is easily calculated on the basis of standard measures that generally show little interobserver variation. Evaluation of BMI is inexpensive and requires minimal training, and results are immediately available. As a measure of obesity, BMI is very frequently used in the mass media and is thus familiar to many patients.
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