Tuesday, April 07, 2015
What could be an easy way to prevent and manage obesity in children and youth? Ensuring routine growth monitoring and increasing focus on family lifestyles and health behaviours say the new guidelines from the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.
Published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, these guidelines set forth the following recommendations:
• Children and youth under age 18 should undergo regular growth monitoring at primary care visits. Monitoring growth comprises measuring weight, height or length, calculating body mass index (BMI) and plotting these according to age using the WHO (World Health Organization) growth charts.
• Primary care practitioners should offer structured behavioural programs for overweight or obese children between 2 to 17 years to achieve healthy growth.
• Primary care physicians should not offer pharmacotherapy or surgery as a treatment modality to children or youth who are overweight or obese.
• Structured behavioural interventions such as exercise, healthy nutrition, and lifestyle changes amply supported by counselling and education should be recommended.
The guidelines emphasise the importance of a multidisciplinary approach for tackling and preventing obesity in the said group. They even call for randomised controlled trials to devise ways to counter obesity. Obesity increases the risk for co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia.
Talking about a simple way to tackle this issue, the lead researcher said, “Childhood obesity is complex; influenced by different parenting styles, family lifestyles and parents' knowledge of what constitutes healthy growth. Primary care doctors and other health care professionals play an important role in the battle against childhood obesity. To be successful, we must involve the entire family and tailor solutions that meet their varied needs."
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