CONTEXT: Although practice guidelines suggest that primary care providers working with children and adolescents incorporate BMI surveillance and counseling into routine practice, the evidence base for this practice is unclear.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of brief, primary care interventions for pediatric weight management on BMI.
DATA SOURCES: Medline, CENTRAL, Embase, PsycInfo, and CINAHL were searched for relevant publications from January 1976 to March 2016 and cross-referenced with published studies.
STUDY SELECTION: Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies that compared the effect of office-based primary care weight management interventions to any control intervention on percent BMI or BMI z scores in children aged 2 to 18 years.
DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers independently screened sources, extracted data on participant, intervention, and study characteristics, z-BMI/percent BMI, harms, and study quality using the Cochrane and Newcastle-Ottawa risk of bias tools.
RESULTS: A random effects model was used to pool the effect size across eligible 10 randomized controlled trials and 2 quasi-experimental studies. Compared with usual care or control treatment, brief interventions feasible for primary care were associated with a significant but small reduction in BMI z score (–0.04, [95% confidence interval, –0.08 to –0.01]; P = .02) and a nonsignificant effect on body satisfaction (standardized mean difference 0.00, [95% confidence interval, –0.21 to 0.22]; P = .98).
LIMITATIONS: Studies had methodological limitations, follow-up was brief, and adverse effects were not commonly measured.
CONCLUSIONS: BMI surveillance and counseling has a marginal effect on BMI, highlighting the need for revised practice guidelines and the development of novel approaches for providers to address this problem.