School-based body mass index (BMI) screening and parent notification programs have been advanced as an obesity prevention strategy. However, little is known about how to develop and implement programs. This qualitative study explored the opinions and beliefs of parents of elementary school students concerning school-based BMI screening programs, notification methods, message content, and health information needs related to promoting healthy weight for school-aged children. Ten focus groups were conducted with 71 participants. Parents were generally supportive of school-based BMI screening. However, they wanted assurance that student privacy and respect would be maintained during measurement and that BMI results would be provided to parents in a neutral manner that avoided weight labeling. They also believed that aggregate results should be disseminated to the larger school community to support healthy change in the nutrition and physical activity environments of schools. Implications for practitioners and researchers are discussed.
- BMI screening
- Childhood obesity