London: Over the last few decades, the dramatic rise in pediatric obesity rates has emerged as a public health threat requiring urgent attention.
However, healthcare providers and other professionals who work with the children can help in identifying and treating eating and weight-related problems early in children and adolescents, according to Professor Denise Wilfley.
Furthermore, the key to successful treatment is a team effort involving providers and parents. Wilfley’s paper highlights the important roles of mental health care providers in this effort.
The review examines the scope of the obesity problem, highlighting the dramatic increases in childhood obesity.
The authors focus on the causes of eating- and weight-related problems in children and adolescents, attending to the complex interactions between environmental and biological factors, and dysregulated eating behaviors known as appetitive traits.
In particular, the authors discuss binge eating and loss-of-control eating; satiety responsiveness or eating in the absence of hunger; motivation to eat; and impulsivity.
According to them, the most effective strategies to combat childhood obesity are lifestyle behavioral interventions, and those involving the whole family in particular.
Family-based behavioral interventions are considered the first-line of treatment for pediatric overweight, and weight maintenance interventions aimed at the socio-environmental context are indicated as well.