Severe Obesity Is Easier To Manage in Kids Than in Teens

sharma-obesity-doctor-kidTo anyone who has raised adolescents, the findings of this study should not come as a surprise.

According to a study by Thomas Reinehr from the University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany, published in Pediatric Obesity, extremely obese children respond better than extremely obese adolescents to behavioural interventions.

The researchers looked at data from a one-year intensive behavioural intervention 1291 children (mean age 11.0years, mean BMI 27.5, 55.8% female, 37.6% extremely obese (defined by BMI-SDS >2.3) at end of intervention and 1 year later.

While the overall mean BMI-SDS wqs indeed reduced (−0.20 ± 0.32 at end of intervention and −0.14 ± 0.37 1 year later), and there were no significant differences in the outcomes of overweight and obese kids vs. overweight and obese adolescents, this was not the case for the severely obese group.

Here, the group of extremely obese kids (>10 years), showed only a rather modest treatment effect compared to younger extremely obese kids (<10 years).

Thus the authors conclude that,

“Our study demonstrated an encouraging effect of lifestyle intervention in extremely obese children ≤10 years at the end of intervention and 1 year later, but only a limited effect in extremely obese adolescents >10 years.”

This is not unlike the situation for other chronic diseases, where management in adolescents tends to be more challenging than managing younger kids or adults.

I guess this is simply another fact that obesity management shares with the management of other chronic diseases.

If you have experience with managing adolescent obesity, I’d certainly like to hear from you.

Edmonton, AB