Obesity has been identified by the World Health Organization as a global epidemic of adults and children. In 2003–2004, the NHANES found that 17% of all children ages 2–9 years were overweight/obese (BMI ≥ 95%). Programs in smoking cessation provide a successful model for utilizing hospitalization as a time to initiate behavior modification. This was a pilot study to evaluate whether identifying the overweight child in the hospital and initiating education is perceived as helpful by the family and/or the PMD.


Current practice of the HCH Pediatric Center medical service is to screen all children between ages 2 and 18 years old for overweight/obesity using BMI measurement and to initiate education for those identified. Our study involved conducting surveys of parents and PMDs after discharge to assess whether follow‐up occurred, what was discussed, and whether our identification and education of the patient in the hospital was perceived as helpful by the family and/or the physician.


There were 27 family/PMD pairs for analysis. Of the 27, 20 families completed surveys: 90% of families surveyed thought it was helpful to identify the problem of overweight/obesity in the hospital; 55% followed up with their PMD; and 65% took action to address weight issues. Of the 27, 5 enrollees had both family and PMD surveys completed. Of those 5 families, all thought it was helpful, 3 PMDs thought it was helpful, and 2 PMDs had no comment on helpfulness There were no negative comments from families or PMDs. Sixty‐three percent of our enrolled patients were admitted for asthma


It is difficult to draw conclusions from small numbers as in this pilot study; however, the hospital‐based identification of those overweight/obese and education, coupled with PMD follow‐up, was perceived as valuable to the families involved, and more than half took some action to address the problem. In the hospital, overweight and obese children are easily identified. Parents are at the bedside creating an opportunity for a teachable moment, staff availability and technologies enable education in the hospital, and there is added significance to information presented during hospitalization. There are some data to support obesity affecting certain medical conditions, especially asthma. Once these findings are confirmed in a larger study, this easily replicated practice should be considered by other pediatric centers.

Author Disclosure:

R. Carlisle, none; P. Lewis, none; J. Jarboe‐Costello, none; L. Brandon, none; N. Long, none.