U.S. Panel Recommends Intensive Counseling for Childhood Obesity Starting at Age 6


In a groundbreaking move, a panel of U.S. experts has proposed intensive counseling for childhood obesity, emphasizing the promotion of healthy diet and exercise habits from the age of 6. The draft recommendation, issued by the government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, builds upon the 2017 suggestion to initiate screening for obesity at the age of 6.

Recent research has highlighted the efficacy of intensive behavioral interventions, defined as a minimum of 26 hours of counseling involving one or more health professionals, in achieving a healthy weight and enhancing the quality of life for children and adolescents.

Counseling for Childhood Obesity Is Much Needed

The new proposal, while not specifying a precise timeframe for these interventions, aims to address the pressing issue of childhood obesity in the United States.

Notably, the task force’s advice does not touch upon the use of medications like Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, approved for children aged 12 and above, or surgical interventions. The panel acknowledged that more research is necessary to fully comprehend the long-term health outcomes associated with weight loss medications.

The recommended behavioral interventions constitute a comprehensive package encompassing physical activity, support for behavior change, and education on healthy eating.

Dr. Katrina Donahue of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, a member of the task force, emphasized that these interventions may vary in their implementation across different cities due to local resource discrepancies.

However, the panel’s review, which incorporated data from 58 randomized controlled trials involving over 10,000 children, demonstrated the effectiveness of these interventions. Dr. Donahue stated that the interventions prove successful “as long as the child receives a total of at least 26 hours of contact with professionals.”

Assigning a “grade B” to the evidence supporting intensive interventions, the task force indicates a high level of certainty that these interventions would offer at least a moderate benefit. Results from the trials showed an average weight loss of 4 to 6.5 pounds, with these reductions maintained for at least one year.

Childhood obesity, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) higher than 95% of peers of the same age and gender, affects nearly 1 in 5 U.S. children and teenagers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This initiative aims to address a critical health concern impacting a significant portion of the nation’s youth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, in alignment with the task force, supports lifestyle interventions involving 26 or more hours of “face-to-face, family-based, multicomponent treatment over a three- to 12-month period.” However, the academy has also advised pediatricians to consider weight-loss drugs for children aged 12 and older with obesity and to refer adolescents aged 13 and older with severe obesity for evaluation for metabolic and bariatric surgery.

Dr. Sarah Hampl of Children’s Mercy Kansas City and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, speaking on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics, emphasized the multifactorial nature of childhood obesity. Factors such as socioecological, environmental, and genetic influences contribute to the complexity of the issue.

Dr. Hampl stressed the importance of a careful evaluation and ongoing reevaluation of each child with obesity, considering the spectrum of the disease and the need for advanced treatments in some cases.

The draft recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is now open for public comment until January 16, providing an opportunity for stakeholders and the public to contribute their insights on this critical initiative aimed at addressing and preventing childhood obesity.

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

New Research Suggests Video Gaming Boosts Recovery from Work Stress

In a surprising turn of events, recent research published in Applied Psychology challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding video gaming, suggesting that it may actually aid in recovery from work-related stress.

The study, conducted by researchers from Istanbul Medipol University and Erasmus University Rotterdam, sheds light on the potential positive outcomes associated with gaming, particularly when coupled with a harmonious passion for the activity.

Despite previous studies often highlighting the negative repercussions of gaming, an increasing body of evidence indicates its potential to improve mood and facilitate relaxation after a long day at work. To delve deeper into this phenomenon, the researchers sought to explore the impact of gaming on employees’ recovery from work stress.

Recruiting partic

Up Next

New Study Suggests Link Between Cat Ownership and Schizophrenia Risk

In a recent study published by researchers from the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, an intriguing association has been identified between cat ownership and an increased risk of schizophrenia-related disorders.

The study, which analyzed 17 research papers spanning over four decades and involving 11 countries, sheds light on a potential connection that has long intrigued scientists.

The notion that cat ownership might influence the risk of schizophrenia-related disorders dates back to a 1995 study, which suggested a correlation between exposure to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, commonly found in cats, and the development of these disorders. However, subsequent research has yielded mixed results, with some studies supporting this hypothesis while others do not.

Up Next

Beware: Overconsumption of Vitamins and Minerals Can Have Serious Health Consequences

Recent findings suggest that while vitamins and minerals are essential for maintaining good health, excessive intake of certain nutrients can lead to adverse effects on the body. Medical experts caution against the overconsumption of vitamins and minerals, emphasizing the potential dangers associated with their misuse.

Dr. Wendolyn Gozansky, a geriatrician and chief quality officer with Kaiser Permanente, highlights the importance of distinguishing between water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.

While water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and B vitamins, are easily eliminated from the body, fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A and D, can accumulate and cause toxicity if taken in excess.

Overconsumption of Vitamins Can

Up Next

Impact Of Air Pollution: Understand How It Is Linked to Deteriorating Mental Health

In a significant revelation, the Delhi government has informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that exposure to air pollution is closely associated with worsening mental health conditions among residents of the national capital. The admission comes amidst growing concerns over the hazardous air quality levels that have plagued Delhi for years

The disclosure was made during a hearing before the NGT, where the Delhi government presented findings linking air pollution to a range of mental health issues. This revelation underscores the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address the dual crisis of air pollution and its impact on public health.

Impact Of Air Pollution On Mental Health

Delhi, one of the most polluted cities globally, g

Up Next

10 Crucial Facts About Peanut Allergies Every Parent Should Know

In a recent report by Fox News, Dr. Rani Maskatia, a pediatric and adult allergist and immunologist in California, shared essential insights into peanut allergies that every parent should be aware of.

As more than six million individuals in the U.S. contend with peanut allergies, including approximately 1.6 million children and teens, understanding the nuances of this condition is paramount.

Peanut Allergies And Facts You Must Know About

Peanut Allergy Origins:Peanut allergies stem from an immune system reaction to proteins found in peanuts, prompting various symptoms across different bodily systems.

Rising Prevalence:The prev

Up Next

Understanding Spring Asthenia: Navigating Seasonal Changes in Mood and Energy

As the days grow longer and warmer, many anticipate the arrival of spring with a sense of joy and vitality. However, for some individuals, the transition to a new season may bring unexpected challenges in the form of low energy and mood disturbances. Known as spring asthenia or springtime lethargy, this phenomenon is not medically recognized as a diagnosable condition but is familiar to many who experience it.

Concept of Spring Asthenia

While the concept of spring asthenia lacks formal medical recognition, its effects are widely acknowledged among individuals who find themselves grappling with a dip in energy and mood as the seasons change.

Although these changes are typically temporary and manageable, it’s essential to recognize when they may be ind

Up Next

Role Of Genetic Testing in Predicting Parkinson’s Disease Risk: A Comprehensive Overview

Parkinson’s disease (PD) presents a complex challenge in the realm of neurological conditions, characterized by progressive motor impairment.

While its diagnosis traditionally hinges on meticulous history-taking and examination, the underlying causative factors involve an intricate interplay of genetic testing and environmental influences.

Recent insights from Dr. Richa Singh, a Consultant Neurologist at Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune, shed light on the emerging role of genetic testing in identifying mutations associated with PD.

However, it’s imperative to grasp that possessing a genetic predisposition doesn’t necessarily equate to developing PD. Conversely, the absence of genetic markers doesn’t guarantee immunity to the disease. Hence, genetic testing isn’t standard practice due to its limited capacity to