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Child and adolescent obesity: family-based programs including behaviour therapy can work

22 January 2009

Family-based lifestyle interventions that not only modify diet and physical activity but also include behaviour therapy programs can help obese children lose weight and maintain that loss for at least 6 months. In adolescents the effect lasts for at least 12 months. Adding weight controlling drugs orlistat or sibutramine to behaviour change programs for adolescents may provide additional benefits.
These findings mark a change in opinion. A systematic review performed in 2003 could not find enough data to draw any conclusions about the effects of different programs. This time the researchers identified 64 randomised controlled trials involving 5230 participants, enabling them to see some definite effects.

‘It is now clear that family-based, lifestyle interventions that include a behavioural program aimed at changing diet and physical activity provide significant and clinically meaningful decreases in overweight in both children and adolescents compared with standard care or self help regimes,’ says lead researcher Hiltje Oude Luttikhuis, who works at Beatrix Children’s Hospital and the Department of Epidemiology in Groningen, Netherlands.

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Last modified:15 September 2017 3.13 p.m.

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