BMI screenings offered for preschoolers

Published On: Jul 02 2013 12:35:31 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 02 2013 09:18:40 PM EDT

Checking the health and fitness of your preschooler.


The obesity epidemic is serious business, especially when it comes to kids.

Being overweight or obese as a child puts you at risk of being overweight as an adult, and it increases your risk of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

While the Mayo Clinic says it's not happening here yet, the hospital is teaming up with school districts across the country to add body mass index screening to the standard screening for kids.

The school district in Rochester, Minn., like many across the country, screens all 3- to 5-year-olds before they start school. It tests things such as height, hearing, vision and other areas.

"It's important to make sure your child is developing the way they should be so they are going to be ready for kindergarten," said James Rechs, whose 4-year-old son Sam underwent preschool screening.

Now, school districts have added body mass index, or BMI, to the list.

"One in three children is either overweight or obese," said Dr. Esther Krych, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician.

Krych and colleagues developed the BMI screening material. They want to identify kids whose BMI is too high and educate parents.

"Our goal is to try to stop the problem before it starts, and that's really prevention," Krych said.

If a child is found to be overweight or obese, the school offers parents information supplied by Mayo Clinic that can help.

"Teaching parents how to keep their child active and how to make healthy choices about eating habits," said Peggy O'Toole-Martin, of Early Childhood Screening.

They're habits that can improve the health of children not just during the school years, but for a lifetime.

Being overweight can increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease, sleep apnea and diabetes.

For more information on preschool BMI screening, go to or call Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville at 904-953-2272.


The views expressed below are not those of News4Jax or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus