Early Treatment of Childhood Obesity is Successful: Study
According to a new study that was published in The International Journal of Obesity, early treatment of childhood obesity is successful in both the short and long term.
Research Study Details
The study was conducted by researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Over 170 young children who had been diagnosed with obesity were monitored by the researchers. Children’s clinics in the Region of Stockholm were used to enlist the children for the randomised controlled study while they were between the ages of four and six.
- Standard treatment: Meetings focusing on diet and exercise with a doctor, paediatrician, and/or dietician.
- Parental support group: Focused on how parents can promote healthy lifestyles in the family without conflict.
- Parental support group with follow-up telephone support: Same as parental support group but with added follow-up phone calls.
After attending the parental support groups, half of the participants were then randomly assigned a follow-up phone call.
Positive Impact on Weight Status
The study suggests that early obesity treatment has a lasting effect. The children in all three groups improved their weight status and saw a reduction in their degree of obesity. More children in the group that received parental support and follow-up phone calls showed a clinically relevant improvement of their weight status associated with better metabolic health.
According to Professor Nowicka, most parents know what kind of food they are supposed to serve their children. However, she emphasizes the importance of building a clear structure at home and not associating food with emotions and achievement. Treating children at a young age is much more effective than starting treatment in their teens and may potentially prevent the need for bariatric surgery.
Intensive treatment of childhood obesity, especially at a young age, has been proven safe and efficacious. This study highlights the benefits of early intervention and the potential for long-term positive health outcomes.
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