More potato chips, sugary drinks and less physical activity are key contributors


In a recent study published by Pediatrics1, economic hardship, school closing and shutdowns led to sedentary lifestyles and increases in childhood obesity. The research analyzed doctor visits pre-pandemic then during the pandemic period and the increases were dramatic. Overall obesity increased from 13.7% to 15.4%. Increases observed range from 1% in children aged 13 to 17 years to 2.6% for those aged 5 to 9 years.


The study recommended new approaches to Weight Assessment and Counseling. These include recommending virtual activities that promote increased physical activity. Focusing on ways to remain safe and active with outside activities, such as park visits, walks and bike riding were also suggested.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a great resource, “Ways to promote health with preschoolers.” This fun flyer shows how we can all work together to support a healthy lifestyle. You can download a copy here.



The HEDIS® measure Weight Assessment and Counseling for Nutrition and Physical Activity for Children/Adolescents (WCC) requires a nutritional evaluation and pro-active guidance as part of a routine health visit.

  • When counseling for nutrition, document current nutritional behavior, such as meal patterns, eating and diet habits, and weight counseling.
  • When counseling for physical activity, document current physical activity behavior, such as exercise routine, participation in sports activities, bike riding and play groups.
  • Handouts about nutrition and physical activity also count toward meeting this HEDIS measure when documented in the member’s health record.


HEDIS® measure WCC looks at the percentage of members, 3 to 17 years of age, who had an outpatient visit with a PCP or OB/GYN and have documented evidence for all the following during the measurement year:

  • Body mass index (BMI) percentile (percentage, not value)
  • Counseling for nutrition
  • Counseling for physical activity


Telehealth, virtual check-in, and telephone visits all meet the criteria for nutrition and physical activity counseling. Counseling does not need to take place only during a well-visit, WCC can also be completed during sick visits. Documenting guidance in your patient’s records is key.


Code services correctly to measure success

These diagnosis and procedure codes are used to document BMI percentile, weight assessment, and counseling for nutrition and physical activity:






BMI percentile




Counseling for nutrition

97802, 97803, 97804


G0270, G0271, G0447, S9449, S9452, S9470

Counseling for physical activity


Z02.5, Z71.82

G0447, S9451


Codes to identify outpatient visits




99411, 99412, 99429, 99455, 99456, 99483


G0402, G0438, G0439, G0463, T1015


HEDIS® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).


American Academy of PediatricsAmerican Academy of Pediatrics raises concern about children’s nutrition and physical activity during pandemic. Available at: Accessed December 10, 2020.




Featured In:
July 2021 Anthem Provider News - Missouri