It may seem obvious to you and me that overweight teens and children can benefit from healthy lifestyle change, but because there are a variety of treatments out there that focus on drug treatment for obesity, researchers wanted to study the specific benefits of behavioral change.
A new review, published in the Cochrane Library, examined the various intervention strategies for helping children and teens achieve healthy weight loss: increased activity, diet, behavioral treatment, and drug therapy. Researchers did not conclude which method was most effective, but validated that kids who try healthy eating and adding exercise habits as part of their treatment are able to lose weight in more significant amounts than those who don't.
decrease in overweight in both children and adolescents compared to standard care or self-help in the short- and the long-term," writes Dr. Hiltje Oude Luttikhuis, of the Beatrix Children's Hospital in Groningen, The Netherlands. She and her colleagues also believe it is very important for parents to get involved, especially for pre-adolescent children.
Drugs and diet may achieve weight loss in the short run, but a lifestyle change can help a child maintain a healthy weight for many years into adulthood – perhaps even a lifetime.
Watch a video from the University of Michigan on healthy activities the whole family can enjoy.