Pediatric Obesity Guidelines

Healthy livingNew 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

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“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


  1. Great post! My son is 9yo and he is getting really fat. They tend to watch too much TV and play video games instead of outdoor sports. I’m re-introducing the veggies and fruits in his diet and I sure hope he goes back to his normal weight again.

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