USPSTF: Refer Children With High BMI to Behavioral Interventions

Larger effects seen for interventions with higher contact hours and that offer physical activity sessions
obese overweight teen
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

TUESDAY, June 18, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that clinicians refer children aged 6 years or older with a high body mass index (BMI) to comprehensive intensive behavioral interventions. These recommendations form the basis of a final recommendation statement published online June 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Elizabeth A. O'Connor, Ph.D., from the Kaiser Permanente Evidence-based Practice Center in Portland, Oregon, and colleagues examined the benefits and harms of weight management interventions initiated in health care settings among children aged 2 to 18 years with high BMI. Data were included from 58 randomized clinical trials with 10,143 participants. The researchers found that after six to 12 months, behavioral interventions were associated with small reductions in BMI and other weight outcomes. In interventions with higher contact hours and that offered physical activity sessions, larger effects were seen. For outcomes other than BMI, reporting was sparse, with few significant findings. The largest effect on BMI was seen for semaglutide and phentermine/topiramate. The few studies that assessed outcomes after discontinuation of medication showed immediate weight regain.

Based on these findings, the USPSTF concludes there is a moderate net benefit to providing or referring children and adolescents aged 6 years or older with a high BMI (≥95th percentile for age and sex) to comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions (B recommendation).

"There are a variety of effective intensive behavioral interventions available that can help kids with a high BMI achieve a healthy weight, while improving quality of life," USPSTF member John M. Ruiz, Ph.D., said in a statement.

Evidence Report

Final Recommendation Statement

Editorial 1 (subscription or payment may be required)

Editorial 2 (subscription or payment may be required)

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