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Computer-Assisted Tools Alert Pediatricians to Obese Patients
Date:2/21/2012

r the measurement of pediatric height and weight and exercise and nutrition counseling for children and adolescents.

"One of the first steps in dealing with any epidemic is finding successful ways to identify the patients at risk. The pediatric obesity epidemic is no exception. Tools such as these will be a great help to the primary care pediatrician, and will allow not only earlier assessment, but can help direct the providers to the recommended testing and treatment," said study co-author Amy Porter, MD, Kaiser Permanente Southern California pediatrician.

Before the KPSC initiative, 66 percent of all children and adolescents in the study had height and weight documented in KP HealthConnect, Kaiser Permanente's electronic health record that is the largest non-governmental medical record system in the world. Three years after the initiative was implemented, this increased to 94 percent. Among children and adolescents, diagnosis of overweight or obesity increased significantly from 12 percent in 2007 to 61 percent in 2010, and documented rates of counseling about exercise and nutrition increased significantly from 1 percent in 2007 to 50 percent in 2010.

The rate of clinically diagnosing overweight and obesity increased across all age and racial and ethnic groups. The increase was highest among overweight and obese children 2 to 5 years old (13 percent to 75 percent) and in extremely obese children and young adults across all ages (23 percent  to 75 percent).

The KPSC initiative began as a result of implementing height and weight as a vital sign in the electronic health record. This made it easier for pediatricians to quickly assess whether their patients were overweight or obese. When the height and weight are entered into the EHR, BMI and BMI-for-age percentiles are calculated based on the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. Growth chart graphs in the EHR track and display this info
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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