Early Interventions Are Best for Kids with Obesity

One-fifth of U.S. kids have obesity, and many have related conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics released the first new clinical guidance in 15 years for treating obesity and overweight in children. We spoke with UCSF experts about their takeaways on the guidance.


What is new and noteworthy in these guidelines?

Beck: Previous guidance was three-step: the primary care provider starts by counseling on diet and physical activity changes and sees how it goes, then steps up to a detailed nutrition plan if needed, then recommends an intensive lifestyle program if needed. The new advice is to go right to that intensive program and aim for 26 hours of provider contact over 3-12 months. The challenge, and the guidelines say this, is that there are far too few programs like this.

Schillinger: What also stuck out to me was the very comprehensive way the guidelines outlined how obesity is driven by multiple factors beyond an individual’s choice, such as lack of access to healthy food and physical activity environments. And how clinicians need to accommodate and