Diagnosis and screening for obesity-related conditions among children and teens receiving Medicaid--Maryland, 2005-2010.
Approximately 383,000 children and teens aged 2-19 years received Medicaid/MCHP Healthy Kids services through the HealthChoice program each year during 2005-2010. From this population, the study sample was drawn by each year selecting at random from those who had managed-care organization encounters during that year. This process yielded approximately 1,600 charts per year that were reviewed by Medicaid Healthy Kids nurses to ensure the visit adhered to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' guidelines for early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment (8). During these quality-assurance reviews, the nurses abstracted the child/teen's height, weight, and date of service, resulting in a final study population of 10,882 children and teens. All height and weight data had been directly measured by the health-care provider during the well-child visit. The data were combined with Medicaid/MCHP enrollment data to get each child/teen's sex, race/ethnicity, and date of birth needed for computing their exact age at the time of their visit. These data were then used to compute BMI percentile for age and sex using a computer program provided by CDC (9). Each child/teen's BMI percentile for age and sex was categorized into one of three groups: below the 85th percentile (classified as normal or underweight), in the 85th-94th percentiles (classified as overweight), or at or above the 95th percentile (classified as obese).
The data were linked to Medicaid/MCHP encounter data to gather information about obesity-related comorbidities and health-care provider screening (e.g., laboratory tests and family history). Each child/teen's visits going back 5 years (or to birth in the case of children aged <5 years) were searched for International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes to identify primary and secondary diagnoses of morbidities known to be associated with overweight and obesity.* These codes were also used to identify overweight and obesity-related screening, counseling, and family history-taking performed by the provider. Any screening laboratory tests performed that were related to overweight and obesity were identified through Current Procedural Terminology codes. Statistically significant differences (p<0.05) between groups were determined using Fisher's exact test and a two-sided Cochran-Armitage test for trend.
Of the 10,882 Healthy Kids study participants, 16.5% were classified as overweight (BMI in the 85th-94th percentiles), and 21.4% were classified as obese (BMI at or above the 95th percentile) (Table 1). The prevalence of obesity increased progressively, from 16.3% in children aged 2-5 years, to 23.1% among children aged 6-11 years, to 25.6% among children and teens aged 12-19 years. No significant difference was observed in obesity prevalence by sex. Hispanic participants had a significantly higher prevalence of obesity (28.1%) compared with their non-Hispanic white (21.0%), non-Hispanic black (20.8%), and non-Hispanic Asian (14.5%) counterparts. No significant change was observed in the prevalence of overweight and obesity during the period 2005-2010.
The rate of screening laboratory tests was lower than expected, based on the recommendations by the Expert Committee for children with elevated BMI (7). The Expert Committee recommends that all children and adolescents with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile for age and sex undergo lipid panel testing, beginning at age 10 years (or if they have other risk factors for comorbid conditions), but only 29.9% of study participants in the overweight category (in the 85th-94th percentiles) were tested, and only 40.2% of participants in the obese category were tested (Table 2). The Expert Committee also recommends that all children and adolescents with a BMI at or above the 95th percentile undergo a fasting glucose test beginning at age 10 years (or if they have other risk factors for comorbid conditions with a BMI in the 85th-94th percentiles); however, only 10.3% of obese study participants underwent this test.
The Expert Committee also recommends that clinicians assess for a family history of overweight and related complications (7). This study found that 1.5% of obese study participants had ICD-9-CM procedure codes for taking a family history of diabetes (Table 2). A similar number were coded for being screened for a family history of lipid disorders. A similar lack of coding occurred for indicating dietary or exercise counseling was provided to obese participants (<2.0%). The records of few children and teens with a BMI in the 85th-94th percentiles included a diagnosis code of overweight (0.9%). The records of a higher percentage of children and teens with a BMI at or above the 95th percentile included a diagnosis code of obesity (22.3%); however, this is still below the number that met the criteria for obesity based on BMI percentile (7).
Diagnoses of medical conditions associated with overweight and obesity were observed to increase significantly across the three BMI groups (Table 2). Asthma, depression, and dyslipidemia were the most common comorbid conditions diagnosed among obese study participants (33.5%, 7.2%, and 7.9%, respectively).
When the data were analyzed to identify emergency department (ED) visits with a primary or secondary diagnosis of an obesity-related complication, the prevalence of these ED visits increased significantly with increasing BMI (Table 2).
This study demonstrates that the prevalence of obesity is higher among Maryland children receiving services through Medicaid/MCHP than in the general population of U.S. children and teens. The prevalence of obesity (21.4%) among the Maryland Healthy Kids study participants was significantly elevated compared with data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which includes children and teens with all types of health insurance. In the United States, 16.9% of children and teens aged 2-19 years were categorized as obese during 2009-2010 (2). When stratified by race/ethnicity, the prevalence of obesity among non-Hispanic white Maryland Medicaid/MCHP children and teens was 21.0%, significantly higher than the national rate of 14.0%. Among Hispanic Maryland study participants, the prevalence of obesity was 28.1%, which was significantly higher than the national Hispanic prevalence of 21.2%. No significant difference was observed between the prevalence of obesity among non-Hispanic black children and teens in Maryland (20.8%) and the national prevalence of 24.3%.
This study also indicates these at-risk children and teens are not being adequately coded for overweight and obesity by their Medicaid/MCHP health-care providers and those with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile for age and sex are not receiving recommended screening laboratory tests for obesity-related conditions.
The findings in this study are subject to at least six limitations. First, although the height and weight of each study participant was directly measured by a clinician during a well-child visit, measurement errors or data recording errors might have
occurred, resulting in misclassification. Second, because the height and weight were abstracted from a single well-child visit, it is not possible to know when individual participants became overweight or obese or for how long they had been overweight. Third, bias might have resulted because some of the participants were followed for different periods because they were too young to have 5 years of encounter data or because they were enrolled inconsistently in Medicaid in Maryland. Fourth, health-care providers might have screened for overweight and obesity but neglected to record the diagnosis directly in the medical record, and therefore it would not have appeared in the Medicaid/MCHP encounter data used in this study. Fifth, health-care providers might have ordered laboratory tests, but patients might have neglected to follow through with the test. Finally, any screenings or tests performed >5 years before each participant's chart review were not included in this analysis.
The results of this investigation were presented to the medical directors of all Maryland Medicaid HealthChoice managedcare organizations, the health officers in each Maryland jurisdiction, and pediatricians to make them aware of the need to increase obesity screening and testing for obesity-related complications among this population.
What is already known on this topic?
Expert Committee recommendations for the prevention, assessment, and treatment of childhood obesity were released in 2007 that update the 1998 guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The recommendations included screening laboratory tests (lipid panel and fasting glucose) for children and adolescents with a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 85th percentile for age and sex, as well as dietary and physical activity assessment and screening for a family history of obesity risk factors.
What is added by this report?
Among Maryland Medicaid or Maryland Children's Health Program enrollees, the percentage of children and teens aged 2-19 years with a BMI at or above the 95th percentile is higher than in a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population. Despite recommendations for laboratory screening of children and adolescents with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile, the rates of lipid and fasting glucose screening among Maryland Medicaid or Maryland Children's Health Program enrollees were below what is recommended. Similarly, rates of documented dietary and exercise counseling also were below what is recommended.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Children who are overweight or obese should be appropriately identified and screened for complications, consistent with the Expert Committee recommendations. The increased obesity-related morbidity and low levels of diagnostic coding and laboratory screening identified in this study present a challenge to efforts to reduce and treat childhood obesity. Public health agencies can use this information as an opportunity to assess, understand, and reduce the barriers to implementation of the guidelines.
Tricia Roddy, Alice Middleton, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Medical Assistance Program. Babi Lamba, The Hilltop Institute, University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
(1.) Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, Lamb MM, Flegal KM. Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007-2008. JAMA 2010; 303:242-9.
(2.) Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999- 2010. JAMA 2012; 307:483-90.
(3.) Assadi F. The growing epidemic of hypertension among children and adolescents: a challenging road ahead. Pediatr Cardiol 2012; 33:1013-20.
(4.) CDC. Prevalence of abnormal lipid levels among youths-United States, 1999-2006. MMWR 2010; 59:29-33.
(5.) Copeland KC, Silverstein J, Moore KR, et al. Management of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in children and adolescents. Pediatrics 2013; 131:364-82.
(6.) Dietz W. Health consequences of obesity in youth: childhood predictors of adult disease. Pediatrics 1998; 101:S518-25.
(7.) Barlow SE. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: summary report. Pediatrics 2007; 120(Suppl 4):S164-92.
(8.) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment. Baltimore, Maryland: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid; 2013. Available at http://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid-chip-programinformation/by-topics/benefits/early-and-periodic-screening- diagnostic-and-treatment.html.
(9.) CDC. A SAS program for the 2000 CDC growth charts (ages 0 to <20 y). Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2011. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/growthcharts/ resources/sas.htm.
* Obesity-related conditions included asthma, depression, dyslipidemia, sleep apnea, diabetes, hypertension, tibia vara, acanthosis nigricans, steatohepatitis, dysmetabolic syndrome, and hyperinsulinemia.
Lee Hurt, DrPH [1,2], Cheryl De Pinto, MD , Johnna Watson , Marti Grant, MA , Julie Gielner  (Author affiliations at end of text)
 Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center;  Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene;  The Hilltop Institute, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Corresponding author: Cheryl De Pinto, email@example.com, 410-767-5595)
TABLE 1. Selected characteristics of children and teens aged 2-19 years participating in the Maryland Healthy Kids study (2005-2010), by body mass index (BMI) percentile Characteristic BMI below the 85th percentile No. % (95% CI) Total 6,769 62.2 (61.3-63.1) Age group (yrs) 2-5 2,746 69.2 (67.8-70.7) 6-11 2,165 59.1 (57.5-60.7) 12-19 1,858 57.1 (55.4-58.8) Sex Male 3,429 62.7 (61.4-64.0) Female 3,340 61.7 (60.4-63.0) Race/Ethnicity Black, non-Hispanic 3,832 62.8 (61.6-64.0) White, non-Hispanic 1,865 63.2 (61.4-64.9) Hispanic 595 52.4 (49.4-55.3) Asian, non-Hispanic 201 69.3 (63.7-74.6) Characteristic BMI in the 85th-94th percentiles No. % (95% CI) Total 1,790 16.5 (15.8-17.2) Age group (yrs) 2-5 575 14.5 (13.4-15.6) 6-11 652 17.8 (16.6-19.1) 12-19 563 17.3 (16.0-18.7) Sex Male 859 15.7 (14.8-16.7) Female 931 17.2 (16.2-18.2) Race/Ethnicity Black, non-Hispanic 1,000 16.4 (15.5-17.3) White, non-Hispanic 468 15.9 (14.6-17.2) Hispanic 222 19.5 (17.3-22.0) Asian, non-Hispanic 47 16.2 (12.2-21.0) Characteristic BMI at or above the 95th percentile Total No. % (95% CI) no. Total 2,323 21.4 (20.6-22.1) 10,882 Age group (yrs) 2-5 645 16.3 (15.1-17.5) 3,966 6-11 846 23.1 (21.7-24.5) 3,663 12-19 832 25.6 (24.1-27.1) 3,253 Sex Male 1,178 21.6 (20.5-22.7) 5,466 Female 1,145 21.1 (20.1-22.3) 5,416 Race/Ethnicity Black, non-Hispanic 1,271 20.8 (19.8-21.9) 6,103 White, non-Hispanic 620 21.0 (19.5-22.5) 2,953 Hispanic 319 28.1 (25.5-30.8) 1,136 Asian, non-Hispanic 42 14.5 (10.6-19.1) 290 Abbreviation: CI = confidence interval. TABLE 2. Number and prevalence of children and teens aged 2-19 years participating in the Maryland Healthy Kids study (2005-2010) who were screened for or received a diagnosis of an obesity-related condition, by body mass index (BMI) percentile and selected characteristics Characteristic BMI below the 85th percentile No. Prevalence (%) Total 6,769 62.2 Diagnosed medical condition Asthma 1,825 27.0 Depression 307 4.5 Dyslipidemia 226 3.3 Sleep apnea 98 1.5 Diabetes 44 0.7 Hypertension 43 0.6 Tibia vara 48 0.7 Acanthosis nigricans <6 --([dagger]) Overweight 9 0.1 Obesity 33 0.5 Morbid obesity <6 --([dagger]) ED visit with primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity-related condition Yes 895 13.2 Screening laboratory tests Lipid panel 1,674 24.7 Metabolic panel 1,781 26.3 Fasting glucose 195 2.9 Screening for family history and counseling Family history of diabetes 52 0.8 Dietary counseling 21 0.3 Exercise counseling <6 --([dagger]) Screening for lipid disorders 45 0.7 Characteristic BMI in the 85th-94th percentiles No. Prevalence (%) Total 1,790 16.5 Diagnosed medical condition Asthma 535 29.9 Depression 88 4.9 Dyslipidemia 64 3.6 Sleep apnea 33 1.8 Diabetes 21 1.2 Hypertension 13 0.7 Tibia vara 20 1.1 Acanthosis nigricans <6 --([dagger]) Overweight 16 0.9 Obesity 70 3.9 Morbid obesity <6 --([dagger]) ED visit with primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity-related condition Yes 286 16.0 Screening laboratory tests Lipid panel 535 29.9 Metabolic panel 486 27.2 Fasting glucose 83 4.6 Screening for family history and counseling Family history of diabetes 17 1.0 Dietary counseling 5 0.3 Exercise counseling <6 --([dagger]) Screening for lipid disorders 16 0.9 Characteristic BMI at or above the 95th percentile No. Prevalence (%) Total 2,323 21.4 Diagnosed medical condition Asthma 779 33.5 Depression 168 7.2 Dyslipidemia 183 7.9 Sleep apnea 77 3.3 Diabetes 58 2.5 Hypertension 61 2.6 Tibia vara 27 1.2 Acanthosis nigricans 34 1.5 Overweight 49 2.1 Obesity 519 22.3 Morbid obesity 62 2.7 ED visit with primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity-related condition Yes 392 16.9 Screening laboratory tests Lipid panel 934 40.2 Metabolic panel 799 34.4 Fasting glucose 238 10.3 Screening for family history and counseling Family history of diabetes 34 1.5 Dietary counseling 47 2.0 Exercise counseling <6 --([dagger]) Screening for lipid disorders 33 1.4 Characteristic Total no. p-value * Total 10,882 Diagnosed medical condition Asthma 3,139 <0.001 Depression 563 <0.001 Dyslipidemia 473 <0.001 Sleep apnea 208 <0.001 Diabetes 123 <0.001 Hypertension 117 <0.001 Tibia vara 95 0.027 Acanthosis nigricans 40 <0.001 Overweight 74 <0.001 Obesity 622 <0.001 Morbid obesity 70 <0.001 ED visit with primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity-related condition Yes 1,573 <0.001 Screening laboratory tests Lipid panel 3,143 <0.001 Metabolic panel 3,066 <0.001 Fasting glucose 516 <0.001 Screening for family history and counseling Family history of diabetes 103 0.004 Dietary counseling 73 <0.001 Exercise counseling <6 0.010 Screening for lipid disorders 94 0.001 Abbreviation: ED = emergency department. * Calculated using Cochran-Armitage test for trend. ([dagger]) Percentages based on fewer than six persons are not shown.
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|Author:||Hurt, Lee; De Pinto, Cheryl; Watson, Johnna; Grant, Marti; Gielner, Julie|
|Publication:||Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report|
|Date:||Apr 11, 2014|
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