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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • diabetes;
  • health care cost;
  • hypertension;
  • nursing;
  • outcomes;
  • overweight;
  • screening;
  • service learning

ABSTRACT Objectives: (1) Determine the prevalence of overweight and high blood pressure (BP) among middle and high school students over a 2-year period and, (2) measure the cost and initial outcomes of screening.

Design: Cost and outcome description using a cross-sectional design sample. The target population was 12- to 19-year-old healthy students attending grades 7 through 12 at 3 proximal schools located in a large urban school district in Texas.

Results: Of 2,338 students screened, 925 (39.6%) had a body mass index (BMI)≥85th percentile and 504 (21.6%) had BMIs≥95th percentile for age and gender. There were 346 students (14.8%) with BMIs≥85th percentile and systolic blood pressure (SBP)≥95th percentile for age, gender, and height. The cost of the 2-year screening program was $66,442, and the cost per student was $28. The cost to identify a student with increased BMI or high SBP was $72 and $107, respectively.

Conclusions: This study offered an objective framework to examine the cost and outcomes of screening children for overweight and increased BP. The study has implications for discussion and informed decision making about school-based screening for these conditions.