Purpose of review: The obesity epidemic confronts the pediatrician every day in the office. Pediatricians should help curb the epidemic through prevention and the usual pediatric primary care tasks of screening, communication and anticipatory counseling. This review highlights findings from recent literature to guide office-based prevention of obesity in children.
Recent findings: More and more, children and society feel the effects of the obesity epidemic; prevention efforts need to begin earlier. Pediatricians' efforts to screen help identify at-risk children who may benefit from early lifestyle changes. The identification of overweight children also helps foster the appropriate work up of comorbidities. Pediatricians' communication of weight trajectories, which includes techniques like motivational interviewing, may help parents to adopt behavioral prescriptions. Pediatricians should focus on promoting breastfeeding, limiting television, increasing physical activity and reducing sugar-sweetened beverages. New tools used in the training setting show promising results.
Summary: Pediatricians must focus efforts on preventing childhood overweight, while awaiting effective treatment options for this chronic illness with its many associated morbidities. Such prevention involves sensitively communicating early body mass index screening results to parents and helping them to adopt key behavioral changes in diet and physical activity.