Waist Circumference as a Measurement Tool for Pediatric Obesity

Monday, 9 November 2015

Jeanette Marlene Weiser, DNP, MSN, BSN, ADN, RN, APRN, FNP-C
Neodesha Rural Health Clinic, Neodesha, KS, USA

Waist Circumference as a Tool in Pediatric Obesity Screening

Background: The focus of this project was exploring methods for the early identification of childhood obesity.

Significance: With the advent of electronic health records, and Meaningful Use requirements, there has been an additional push to obtain accurate height, weight, and BMI measurements on all patients, both child and adult. Unfortunately, BMI alone does not provide an accurate representation on the health status of the patient. An extensive literature review revealed that the waist circumference measurement has been utilized in other countries (Germany, Turkey, and Brazil) in order to answer this need.

Methods: The study design was quantitative, correlational. This project took place at a rural health clinic in a community of 2500 in Kansas. Several months prior to implementation of the project, education was provided for office staff on the process of obtaining a waist circumference measurement. A PDS/McKesson Practice Partners electronic health record (EHR) was utilized.

Results: 251 eligible patients, 201 w/ BMI values, 53 w/ waist circumference values, and 29 with eligible ICD-9 codes. ANOVA testing and post hoc Tukey HSD testing was completed. BMI and/or waist circumference measurements led to the identification of an overweight/obese diagnosis 14% of the time. In addition, patient’s age and/or gender did not have a significant relationship to BMI and/or waist circumference measurements.

Discussion: The novel environment of a rural health clinic in the Midwestern USA added a dynamic to the research that was beneficial in filling a knowledge gap. The addition of anthropometric measurements within the pediatric practice of this clinic location was beneficial for the purpose of early identification of overweight/obesity related health trends. This is anticipated to make a positive effect in the long term care of the pediatric patient population.