Can school health check-ups serve as screening tool for growth anomalies and obesity in children?

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Sep;28(9-10):1115-21. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2014-0530.


Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of growth disorders and obesity in schoolchildren and determine whether school health check-ups are effective in their screening. Subjects-methods: Analysis of anonymized growth and body mass index (BMI) data from 2887 children attending the 3rd grade from 2008 to 2009 after selection of 75 elementary schools in Paris.

Results: Linear growth velocity was abnormal in 198 children. Height and weight were above the French reference values (+ 0.9 ± 1.2 SD and + 1 ± 1.7 SD, respectively). BMI was higher, compared to reference values (+ 0.4 ± 1.4 SD). At their last check-up, 20.9% of children had a BMI > + 2 SD.

Conclusions: School health check-ups constitute a good screening tool for growth and obesity. However, further work is needed to determine the most effective modality. The reference values currently used in France are no longer suitable and new reference charts need to be established. The high prevalence of obesity in schoolchildren remains a public health challenge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Female
  • France
  • Growth Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Obesity / diagnosis*
  • School Health Services*