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No child is an island

All children should have a medical evaluation by a doctor before starting weight loss therapy. The goals of therapy are to:

  • lose weight slowly (e.g., approximately 0.5 kg or 1 lb a month)
  • maintain normal childhood growth (e.g., growing taller in height) with no weight gain
  • change diet, exercise, and behaviour
  • involve family in counseling and support
  • keep the weight off once it is lost

Recent research has shown that diet, exercise, and behaviour modification are most effective when the whole family is involved. A weight loss program may be futile and actually harmful if the family is not ready to make changes, because unsuccessful efforts may lower a child’s self-esteem even further.

Since family support is such an important part of therapy, several "parenting" principles should be followed in the management of eating and activity behaviours:

  • Find reasons to praise your child’s behaviour.
  • Offer rewards for positive changes in behaviour. Never use food as a reward.
  • Establish daily family meal and snack times.
  • Determine what food is offered and when. Let your child decide whether to eat.
  • Offer only healthy options.
  • Remove temptations.
  • Be a role model.
  • Be consistent.

Drug therapy and surgery are sometimes used to treat obesity in adults. However, they are not routinely recommended for children and are generally not considered unless obesity is life-threatening.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Childhood-Obesity

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