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Practitioner Review: Bridging the gap between research and clinical practice in pediatric obesity

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Abstract:

Background: 

Pediatric obesity is a significant public health concern, with rising prevalence rates in both developed and developing countries. This is of particular significance given that overweight children and adolescents are at increased risk for multiple medical comorbidities, as well as psychosocial and behavioral difficulties. The current review highlights findings from the empirical pediatric obesity treatment literature, with particular attention to diet, physical activity, and behavior interventions. Evaluation and treatment considerations relevant to working with overweight children and adolescents with psychiatric comorbidities are reviewed. Methods: 

Review of the relevant treatment literature, with a focus on randomized clinical trials, was conducted. Recommendations regarding treatment of children and adolescents with psychiatric comorbidities are based on relevant prospective studies of the relationship between weight status and psychological variables and studies with adult populations. Results: 

Well-established pediatric weight control interventions have been conducted in research settings. These studies provide a starting point, but are limited by homogeneous samples that may exclude participants with psychiatric comorbidities. Practitioners treating obese children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders are encouraged to assess individual, familial, and contextual variables specific to weight (e.g., motivation and existing support to change current eating and physical activity patterns, extent of weight-related conflict within family, impact of weight on current functioning) in order to prioritize treatment objectives. Conclusions: 

The review concludes with a discussion of current empirical and practical challenges, including explicitly targeting obese children and adolescents with psychiatric concerns and determining appropriateness of pursuing weight control interventions in this population.

Keywords: Obesity; clinical practice; overweight; pediatrics; review

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01613.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA 2: The Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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