Article Text

  1. St. S.M. John
  1. Seattle, WA.


Purpose Childhood overweight and obesity are growing national concerns. While participating in a preceptorship working with an underserved community, a community project focused on childhood obesity was developed at the Central Washington Family Medicine Clinic (CWFM) in Yakima, WA.

Methods A clinic based community project was developed while working with second year residents at CWFM. The aim of the project was to educate clinic staff about the problem; develop charting mechanisms to alert clinicians and track childhood overweight and obesity; determine what the community had to offer; and provide patient educational materials. An educational offering that included a nutritionist speaker was presented to the clinic staff. BMI charts and an ‘algorithm for weight' setting guidelines for physician interventions were suggested as additions to well-child workups. Local groups that were addressing childhood overweight and obesity were contacted, including local pediatricians, community educators, a fitness director and a public health nurse. Age specific patient education handouts were developed that addressed healthy eating and portion sizes, as well as exercise, limits of TV/video game time, and local contacts for recreational activities.

Results This project highlighted for the CWFM staff, the number of resources in Yakima addressing the issue of childhood overweight and obesity. If charting changes are implemented and handouts are distributed, providers will have a more efficient mechanism to identify and address weight concerns in children. Further evaluation of the educational material and follow up of the physician's use of the interventions are necessary to determine the impact.

Conclusions The complexity of the problem of childhood obesity lends itself to interventions by multiple groups. Physicians and other health care professionals can identify childhood overweight and obesity easily with the addition of BMI and use of the algorithm for weight at regular well-child check-ups. Awareness of local resources can provide clinicians with appropriate referral options and improve collaboration. Availability of age appropriate patient education handouts can reinforce information provided during the clinic visit.

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