NAPNAP Updates Position Statement on Identification and Prevention of Overweight and Obesity in the Pediatric Population
NEW YORK, July 15, 2021 – The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) has always been committed to promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles for children and families to establish a foundation for optimal health across the life span. As childhood obesity continues to reach epidemic proportions, with 18.5% of children aged 2-19 being obese, the association has revised its position statement on the Identification and Prevention of Overweight and Obesity in the Pediatric Population.
Obesity can often result in comorbidities that correlate with the chronic diseases and increased morbidity into adulthood. Additionally, obese children are more prone to trauma, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression due to the social stigma and victimization from bullying.
“We encourage pediatric health care providers to take proactive steps to identify at-risk children and adolescents early and intervene with age-specific anticipatory guidance on healthy eating and physical activity,” said NAPNAP President Andrea Kline-Tilford, PhD, CPNP-AC/PC. “The most effective strategy for reducing the unprecedented levels of child and adolescent overweight and obesity is prevention through the promotion of a healthy diet, physical activity and decreased sedentary activity.”
The position statement recommends that health care providers partner with patients, parents, families, caregivers, schools and communities to incorporate a series of guidelines to help prevent overweight and obesity, including: obtaining accurate measurement of length/height and weight ratio of children; genetic testing for children who present with extreme obesity before 5 years of age; a well-balanced diet for pregnant or lactating women; culturally sensitive, family-centered lifestyle interventions; motivational interviewing to identify goals for lifestyle; referral to a clinical expert in weight management if lifestyle modifications have been ineffective and community partnerships that foster safe, healthy and active lifestyles and education in prevention, identification and management of childhood and adolescent overweight. The statement also recommends that academic programming for pediatric health care providers include obesity topics and evidence-based guidelines.
The research was published in the July/August 2021 edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed here.
# # #
The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,000 health care practitioners with 18 special interest groups and 53 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses and key partners to optimize child and family health. www.NAPNAP.org