How Helpful Are School-Based BMI Measurements?

KA Madsen et al. JAMA Pediatr. Published online November 16, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.4768.Full text link: Effect of School-Based Body Mass Index Reporting in California Public Schools

Methods:  Cluster randomized clinical trial. The Fit Study (2014-2017) randomized 79 California schools (n=28 641 students) to BMI screening and reporting (group 1), BMI screening only (group 2), or control (no BMI screening or reporting [group 3]) in grades 3 to 8. The setting was California elementary and middle school

Key findings:

  • Among 6534 of 16 622 students with a baseline BMI in the 85th percentile or higher (39.3%), BMI reporting had no effect on BMI z score change (−0.003; 95% CI, −0.02 to 0.01 at 1 year and 0.01; 95% CI, −0.02 to 0.03 at 2 years)
  • Weight dissatisfaction increased more among students having BMI screened at school (8694 students in groups 1 and 2) than among control participants (5674 students in group 3).

My take: Tackling obesity will require a lot more than measuring BMIs. An interesting follow-up study would be to see if schools who reported BMIs were more likely to take other measures, such as providing nutritional counseling, improving school lunch selection, and providing opportunity for more activity/exercise.

Related blog posts:

NY Times: Opening Schools Safely

NY Times: Opening Schools Won’t Be Easy, but Here’s How to Do It Safely

An excerpt:

  • First, schools cannot reopen safely when community transmission is high and climbing. In our view, schools should open only in places that have fewer than 75 confirmed cases per 100,000 people cumulatively over the previous seven days, and that have a test positivity rate below 5 percent
  • Second, schools should avoid high-risk activities. ..
  • Third, focus on the basics where risks are tolerable — that is at the medium level or lower on our chart. ..
  • [Fourth] Schools must adhere to public health measures and reduce density in classrooms and elsewhere on campus.

Related blog posts:

More School Advice for Organ Transplant Recipients, Plus Another Benefit of the Influenza Vaccine

Link to PDF (from Pediatric Infectious Disease Society:

FAQs Regarding Return to School for Children after Solid Organ Transplant in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Some excerpts:

Are pediatric SOT recipients at higher risk for getting COVID-19 compared with other children?
Children of any age can get COVID-19, but they seem to have milder disease than adults. Pediatric SOT recipients do not seem to get COVID-19 more often than other children.

If infected with COVID-19, are pediatric SOT recipients at higher risk for developing severe disease or complications?

Based on experience with other viruses, and from reports of COVID-19 in adult SOT patients, there are a few things that may increase the risk of severe COVID-19. These include:
1) Having undergone transplantation in the last 3-6 months
2) Receiving high doses of immunosuppression (such as for treatment of rejection)
3) Having other medical problems such as diabetes, obesity, or certain lung conditions (refer to CDC website under Helpful Resources for more details)
It is not known if the above factors also put children with SOT at risk. In fact, of all the reports among pediatric SOT recipients with COVID-19 published so far, the majority have had mild symptoms and recovered.

Related blog posts:

More Iron Infusions, Less Blood Transfusions in Kids with Inflammatory Bowel Disease; COVID-19 Transmission in Children

Briefly noted: AE Jacobson-Kelly et al. J Pediatr 2020; 222: 141-5. In this retrospective multicenter cohort study (2012-2018), the authors used the Pediatric Health Information System administrative database (n= 8007 with 28 260 admissions, <21 yrs of age). Key findings:

  • Anemia was documented in 29.8% of admissions.  IV iron was given in 6.3% of admissions and blood transfusions in 7.4%
  • A steady increase in the proportion of IBD admissions received IV iron, from 3.5% in 2012 to 10.4% in 2018 ( P < .0001), and the proportion of admissions with red cell transfusions decreased over time from 9.4% to 4.4% ( P < .0001).

Related blog posts:


What Our Office Is Recommending: School and Pediatric IBD Patients

We are getting a lot of calls from families trying to figure out what they should be doing for their children with inflammatory bowel disease in regards to school attendance.  Here is what our ICN team has developed:

School guidance during Covid pandemic:

With the flood of information in the lay and scientific media, GI Care for Kids wanted to assure that our patients and families who had children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, had some guidance in making important decisions about beginning the 2020-2021 school year.  Currently, research shows that just having IBD, DOES NOT put a person more at risk for acquiring (i.e. catching) coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.  In addition, research suggests that biologics (e.g. Remicade, Humira) DO NOT seem to increase the risk for more severe Covid related illnesses.

However, steroids, thiopurines (e.g. 6-MP; azathioprine, immuran) and prograf DO appear to have a larger effect on increasing risk for more severe coronavirus infection and COVID-19 disease.  Additional research is being carried out with oldest patients (e.g. > 65 years of age) who appear to be at increased risk for infection and COVID-related disease, and, other co-morbid conditions (e.g. obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease) being at highest risk for COVID-19 disease as well.

All patients should practice good hand hygiene, wear masks at all times outside of the house, and observe social distancing.  If your family does not feel that return to a traditional school building is in your child’s best interest, please let us know, and we will help make sure we support you from a medical standpoint. 

For further information on the status of coronavirus in people with IBD world-wide, young or old, please go to:

Additional information about the status of COVID-19 can be found at the following websites:

Also, this:

Facebook link (1:22 min): This is what happens when a Special Effects guy stays at home with his son during lockdown

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