It’s no secret that this country suffers from the overwhelming issue of childhood/adolescent obesity. What you might not know though, is that by the ripe age of 5, over one in five children are overweight. Kids who suffer from obesity beginning at such young ages are at higher risk for depression, arthritis and diabetes, including becoming obese adults. We are excited about interventions designed to try and reverse this trend.
Researches just published a study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine looking at overweight children and an intervention involving intense education with a nurse practitioner to see if children would be able to either lose weight, or not gain as much. This study was what we call a randomized, controlled trial, where half the group was assigned to normal care from their primary care doctors and the other half got the particular intervention where they had a primary care doctor augmented with the nurse who gave individualized coaching and feedback, to the patient and their family and the patient’s doctor. The focus was to cut back on TV, fast food and soda, things that are typically associated with weight gain. With such an intensive study people had reason to expect extremely positive results for the intervention group of children
After a year, though, girls in the study hadn’t actually lost weight, though they did not gain as much weight as the boys. The study concluded that children who received the intervention reduced television use but do not see significant weight loss or body mass index improvements. While it is positive that the children watched less TV, it seems that this study didn’t do what it set out to do- reduce the BMI in children. Over time we might have seen more effective results, but considering the complexities and expense, the results just weren’t what we had hoped. Stay tuned.