Evidence Update on the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Children and Adolescents

Myra Altman, Denise E. Wilfley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

Childhood obesity is associated with increased medical and psychosocial consequences and mortality and effective interventions are urgently needed. Effective interventions are urgently needed. This article reviews the evidence for psychological treatments of overweight and obesity in child and adolescent populations. Studies were identified through searches of online databases and reference sections of relevant review articles and meta-analyses. Treatment efficacy was assessed using established criteria, and treatments were categorized as well-established, probably efficacious, possibly efficacious, experimental, or of questionable efficacy. Well-established treatments included family-based behavioral treatment (FBT) and Parent-Only Behavioral Treatment for children. Possibly efficacious treatments include Parent-Only Behavioral Treatment for adolescents, FBT-Guided Self-Help for children, and Behavioral Weight Loss treatment with family involvement for toddlers, children, and adolescents. Appetite awareness training and regulation of cues treatments are considered experimental. No treatments are considered probably efficacious, or of questionable efficacy. All treatments considered efficacious are multicomponent interventions that include dietary and physical activity modifications and utilize behavioral strategies. Treatment is optimized if family members are specifically targeted in treatment. Research supports the use of multicomponent lifestyle interventions, with FBT and Parent-Only Behavioral Treatment being the most widely supported treatment types. Additional research is needed to test a stepped care model for treatment and to establish the ideal dosage (i.e., number and length of sessions), duration, and intensity of treatments for long-term sustainability of healthy weight management. To improve access to care, the optimal methods to enhance the scalability and implementability of treatments into community and clinical settings need to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-537
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 4 2015

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