New guidelines for the prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity have been released to doctors last month by a task force of endocrinologists, specialists dealing with the effects of hormones on the body. The guidelines were further discussed in the November 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Chaired by Gilbert August, MD, professor emeritus of pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, the group issued new clinical practice guidelines to help primary care physicians focus on prevention and early intervention in children – a strategy they hope will also help stem the rising tide of obesity in adults.
In a commentary by August, “Standards for preventing and treating pediatric overweight and obesity are important for safeguarding both the health of children today and the health of adults in the future. Children who are overweight or obese have an increased risk for developing a number of conditions, most notably dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, and psychosocial issues. I don’t think that we appreciate many of the other problems – such as fatty liver and joint problems – that also can show up in adolescence,” August said.
The guidelines urge individual doctors to lobby for several policies, including:
- emphasizing the prevention of obesity by recommending breast-feeding of infants for at least 6 months
- advocating that schools provide for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous daily exercise in all grades
- educating children and parents through anticipatory guidance about healthy dietary and activity habits
- advocating for restricting the availability of unhealthy food choices in schools, and for policies banning advertising unhealthy food choices to children
- redesigning communities to maximize opportunities for safe walking and bike riding to school, athletic activities, and neighborhood shopping
- Try Pumpkin Bread Pudding, a low fat dessert for your holiday table.
- Find out what top nutritionist Joy Bauer says about pumpkin seeds.
- Want to make sure that your kids are eating a healthy lunch? Do a lunch box make-over.
- Has your teen just announced that he/ she is vegetarian? Read more about how to shop and cook healthy vegetarian fare for your teen.
“Prevention and Treatment of Pediatric Obesity: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline Based on Expert Opinion” by Gilbert P. August, Sonia Caprio, Ilene Fennoy, Michael Freemark, Francine R. Kaufman, Robert H. Lustig, Janet H. Silverstein, Phyllis W. Speiser, Dennis M. Styne, and Victor M. Montori; Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, doi:10.1210/jc.2007-2458