Talk to teens about weighty issues

In JULY the journal Pediatrics published a California-based study of more than 9000 12- to 17-year-olds who’d had a check-up in the previous 12 months, and found that while those whose BMI fell into the obese range were more likely to be screened for nutrition, physical activity and emotional distress, the teens with a BMI in the overweight range hadn’t received any additional preventative screening. The authors described the results as “discouraging.” 1

But should this responsibility fall on GPs?

Professor Louise Baur is the Director of the Physical Activity, Nutrition & Obesity Research Group in Paediatrics & Child Health at Westmead Children’s Hospital. She sees some serious logistical problems with the idea.

“Adolescents don’t use the health system very much... they tend to be transparent to the system,” she says. And when they do come in, it’s nearly always for something else, which