Treatment of Pediatric Obesity

Epstein LH, Myers MD, Raynor HA, Saelens BE
January 1, 1998

Pediatrics. 1998;101(Suppl 2):554-570

This article is part of a 1998 supplement to the journal Pediatrics “The Causes and Health Consequences of Obesity in Children and Adolescents.”

Abstract: The primary goal of childhood obesity interventions is the regulation of body weight and fat with adequate nutrition for growth and development. Ideally these interventions are associated with positive changes in the physiologic and psychological sequelae of obesity. To contribute to long-term weight management, interventions should modify eating and exercise behaviors such that new, healthier behaviors develop and replace unhealthy behaviors, thereby allowing healthier behaviors to persist throughout development and into adulthood. This overview of pediatric obesity treatment, using predominantly randomized, controlled studies, highlights important contributions and developments in primarily dietary, activity, and behavior change interventions, and identifies characteristics of successful treatment and maintenance interventions. Potential positive (e.g., reduction in blood pressure, serum lipids, and insulin resistance) and negative (e.g, development of disordered eating patterns) side effects of reatment also are described. Recommendations for improving implementation of childhood obesity treatments, including application of behavioral choice theory in regard to behavior relapse, individualization of treatment, and integration of basic science with clinical outcome research, are discussed.

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