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04-11-2017 | Obesity | Review | Article

The Report Card on BMI Report Cards

Current Obesity Reports

Authors: Hannah R. Thompson, Kristine A. Madsen

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

Half of states in the USA have legislation requiring that schools conduct body mass index (BMI) screening among students; just under half of these states report results to parents. The effectiveness of school-based BMI screening and reporting in reducing childhood obesity is not established and the practice has raised concerns about the potential for increased weight-based stigmatization.

Recent Findings

Recent experimental studies of BMI screening and reporting have not demonstrated a positive impact on students’ weight status. However, the language and formatting of BMI reports used in studies to date have been suboptimal and have likely limited the potential effectiveness of the practice.


This article reviews the recent literature on school-based BMI screening and reporting and highlights important areas for future inquiry. The present review suggests that evidence to date is not sufficient to support definitive conclusions about the value of school-based BMI screening and reporting as a childhood obesity prevention tool.

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