Intensive lifestyle interventions can help obese young people lose weight

O’Connor EA, Evans CV, Burda BU, et al. Screening for Obesity and Intervention for Weight Management in Children and Adolescents: Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2017;317(23):2427-44.

BikeObese children and adolescents can lose up to seven pounds over six to 12 months when they engage in at least 52 hours of behaviour-based lifestyle interventions. Minimal benefit was seen with shorter contact time, with less than 25 hours ineffective. The control group gained weight.

Rising obesity in the young is a global concern, which may lead to high rates of obesity-related diseases in adulthood. This review identified trials covering various weight management strategies. Lifestyle-based-interventions with sufficient contact time ā€“ as recommended by UK guidelines ā€“ showed clear benefits with no evidence of harms.

Investing in effective strategies to manage child obesity will ultimately save healthcare costs. Behaviour-based support should now be assessed for long-term weight loss and maintenance.

The evidence is still lacking whether universal child screening for obesity should be performed in the UK.

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