Effect of a low-cost intervention on recording body mass index in patients' records

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Center for Health Policy and Research, Office of Community Programs

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Audiovisual Aids; *Body Mass Index; Chi-Square Distribution; Community Health Centers; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Documentation; Female; Humans; Male; Mathematics; Medical Records; New England; Obesity; Patient Care Team; Physical Examination; Primary Health Care; Prospective Studies; Sensitivity and Specificity


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care


PURPOSE: Evaluate the effectiveness of body mass index (BMI) tables placed in exam rooms as an intervention to encourage providers to calculate and record BMI scores in patients' medical records.

DESIGN: In a prospective cohort design, medical record data for 276 adult patients at a federally funded community health center in New England were examined from August 2000 to August 2002 following the intervention.

METHODS: Prominent, multicolored, laminated BMI tables were posted in the exam rooms of one of the study site's three primary health care teams. Medical record data collected included documentation of BMI calculation in medical records, documentation of an obesity diagnosis, and inclusion of heights and current weights. Frequency distributions were calculated; chi-square tests were used to identify associations.

FINDINGS: In contrast to the comparison teams, patients on the intervention team were more likely to have BMI recorded in the medical record. A statistically significant increase in the diagnosis of obesity was observed throughout the health center after the intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: Posting BMI tables in exam rooms contributed to increased BMI documentation in patients' medical records.


J Nurs Scholarsh. 2004;36(4):312-5.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of nursing scholarship : an official publication of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing / Sigma Theta Tau

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID