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

zed because of their appearance.

"Obese children and their families may be discouraged about their weight, but our review found there are programs out there that can help kids to either gain weight more slowly as they grow or, where appropriate, lose weight," said Evelyn Whitlock, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Director of the AHRQ-supported Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland that produced the report.

In a study of one high-intensity, 12-month program reviewed by the researchers, obese children 8 to 16 years old gained less than 1 pound on average, compared with obese kids the same age who gained nearly 17 pounds during the same time period. AHRQ's report found that intensive, health care-based programs generally had greater effects than school-based programs. For example, the report found that obese 12-year-olds in a medium- to high-intensity health care program would weigh 17 to 18 pounds less than their obese peers. In contrast, children enrolled in school-based programs would end up weighing only 4 pounds less than their obese peers.

The report also showed that adding prescription drugs to a behavioral weight management program helped extremely obese adolescents lose weight. However, no studies evaluated maintenance of weight loss after drug treatment ended.

The two primary drugs reviewed were sibutramine (Meridia), which is an appetite suppressant, and orlistat (Xenical), which helps block fat absorption. In one 12-month study, adolescents taking sibutramine as part of a weight management program lost an average of 14 pounds, compared with a 4.2-pound weight gain among those who took a placebo. In another trial, adolescents who took orlistat as part of their weight management program gained an average of 1.2 pounds, compared with their peers who took a placebo and gained nearly 7 pounds.

While there were no reported harms from behavioral intervention alone, there were s
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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