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Keywords:

  • child and adolescent health;
  • public health;
  • school nurses;
  • school nursing practice

BACKGROUND: Body mass index (BMI) screening is advocated by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). Research identifying barriers to BMI screening in public elementary school settings has been sparse. The purpose of the study was to identify barriers and facilitating factors of BMI screening practices among Ohio school nurses working in suburban, rural, and urban public elementary schools.

METHODS: This descriptive study used focus groups with 25 school nurses in 3 geographic regions of Ohio. An adapted Healthy People 2010 model guided the development of semistructured focus group questions.

RESULTS: Nine regional themes related to BMI screening emerged specific to suburban, rural, and/or urban school nurses' experiences with BMI screening practice, policy, school physical environment, school social environment, school risk/protection, and access to quality health care. Key facilitating factors to BMI screening varied by region. Key barriers to BMI screening were a lack of privacy, time, policy, and workload of school nurses.

CONCLUSION: Regionally specific facilitating factors to BMI screening in schools provide opportunities for schools to accentuate the positive and to promote school health.