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Student Concerns Regarding School-based Weight Measurement: Implications for Policy

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Objective: Many schools implement health screening programs that include weight measurement. The potential negative consequences and effectiveness of these programs in improving adolescent health remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of weight measurement practices among emerging adults, some of whom (64%) had previously had their weight measured in a school setting. Methods: Altogether, 239 primarily white (75%) and female (66%) emerging adults provided their opinion regarding school weight measurement policies and experiences being weighed in middle and/or high school. Results: Overall, 37% of the total sample, regardless of personal experience, reported a negative reaction to school weight measurement policy, and 19% described course requirements for weight measurement as unhelpful. Of participants who reported being weighed in a school setting, 31% indicated a negative reaction, 57% rated the process as inappropriate, and 40% rated the process as uncomfortable. Conclusions: Many students may respond negatively to being weighed in the school setting. If schools implement a weight measurement policy, it is essential they mitigate risks and follow the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) criteria for general health screening programs in schools. We provide suggestions for implementing AAP criteria.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Minnesota Epilepsy Group, PA, Roseville, MN, United States 2: Pediatric Psychologist, Children's Hospital of Orange County, Orange, CA, United States 3: Assistant Professor, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, United States 4: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, United States 5: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, United States

Publication date: May 1, 2022

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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