Current Approaches to the Management of Pediatric Overweight and Obesity

Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2014 Nov;16(11):343. doi: 10.1007/s11936-014-0343-0.


Family-based behavioral intervention has been demonstrated to be an effective and safe treatment for childhood obesity and should be considered a first-line treatment option. However, access to such intensive evidence-based treatment is limited and, currently, obesity care is dominated by high intensity behavioral treatment implemented in specialty clinics or less effective low intensity treatments implemented in primary care. However, capitalizing on the established and ongoing relationship between primary care providers and families, primary care providers have an invaluable role in early identification of overweight and obesity, and subsequent referral to an evidence-based treatment. Key aspects of effective treatment include: early intervention, moderate intensity to high intensity intervention of sufficient duration, multicomponent intervention targeting dietary modification, physical activity and behavioral strategies, family involvement and goals targeting family members, and follow-up contact during maintenance. The purpose of this review is to present the current empirically supported treatment options for pediatric obesity including primary care-based interventions and diagnostic tools, multicomponent behavioral intervention with a focus on family-based behavioral intervention, immersion treatment, and pharmacologic and surgical management.