Regular Check-Ups Help Obese Children Lose Weight

As childhood obesity continues to be a significant concern in the United States, researchers are taking a closer look at the best ways to help obese children reach and maintain a healthy weight. New studies suggest that nonintensive weight management programs that utilize frequent visits with a healthcare provider may produce lasting results.

Endocrinologists at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania reviewed the charts of 61 nondiabetic obese children who were followed for at least 2 years. The children were divided into 2 groups, with 1 group attending follow-up visits to a health clinic more than two times during the follow-up period and the the other group only attending two or less appointments in the same time period. Fasting blood samples were taken from all children during the first and last appointments.

The study found that children were more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight loss if they came into the clinic more than once per year, even if an intensive weight management program wasn’t used. Patients who came in every 3 to 4 months had their height and weight measured and were given information about age-appropriate calorie intake and physical activity. These children were found to be able to maintain their weight loss longer than children who were involved in very intensive weight management programs for one year with little to no follow-up afterward.

This study highlights the importance of long-term consistency in weight loss programs for children. Physicians should encourage regular visits and long-term changes that can be enforced with a consistent support system.