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Behavioral Modification Programs Help Obese Children Manage Their Weight
Date:9/29/2008

ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Obese school-age kids and teens can lose weight or prevent further weight gain if they participate in medium- to high-intensity behavioral management programs, according to a new report released today by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Children in the medium- to high-intensity behavioral management programs studied met for more than 25 hours, usually once or twice a week, for 6 months to 12 months. Effective programs included techniques to improve dietary and physical activity habits, with some featuring strategies such as goal setting, problem solving and relapse prevention.

Researchers found that after completing weight management programs, obese children would weigh between 3 pounds and 23 pounds less, on average, than obese children not involved in such programs. Among those enrolled, the weight difference would be greatest among heavier children as well as in those enrolled in more intensive programs. Researchers also found that weight improvements could be maintained for up to a year after the program ended.

"Effective prevention is the best way to stem the childhood obesity epidemic, but we also have to find effective and healthy ways of helping our children and teens who already are obese get to a healthier weight," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "AHRQ's new evidence report helps identify possible solutions."

About 17 percent of U.S. children and teenagers are obese, meaning they have a body mass index (a measure of weight adjusted for the height, age and sex of a child) at or above the 95th percentile for their age and sex. For example, a 16-year-old girl who is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 168 pounds or more is considered obese. Obese children and adolescents are at higher risk for asthma, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, sleep apnea and other weight-related medical problems. They may also suffer psychological harm from being stigmati
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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