Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Residential Treatment Program Helps Obese Kids Lose Weight, Study Finds


Treatment also boosted blood vessel health, but therapy is costly and long-term results are unknown

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Extremely obese kids in an intensive 10-month residential treatment program lost more weight than their counterparts, and appeared to reverse artery damage that could lead to clogged arteries and heart disease, according to a new study from Belgium.

The obese children in the intervention program lost about 60 pounds. Meanwhile, children who received standard diet and exercise counseling gained more than 16 pounds, according to the study.

In the big picture, the study proves that "cardiovascular risk in highly obese children can be reduced through a residential treatment program focusing on diet and exercise," said study lead author Dr. Luc Bruyndonckx, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp/Antwerp University Hospital.

The study was published online Feb. 9 in the journal Pediatrics.

An estimated one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As many as 70 percent of obese kids aged 5 to 17 already have at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, the CDC noted.

In the new Belgian study, researchers tracked 33 kids (24 girls and nine boys, with an average age of 15) for 10 months while they lived in a residential weight-loss facility. Researchers also tracked 28 similarly obese kids encouraged to reduce calories and exercise at home. By the end of the 10-month study, six children dropped out of the residential intervention and seven dropped out of the usual care group.

To be included in the study, children younger than 16 had to have a body mass index in the 97th percentile for their age and gender. This means they were more obese than 97 percent of their peers. Body mass index (BMI) is an estimate of a person's body fat levels. Anything higher than 30 is considered obese, according to the CDC. Children older than 16 had to have a BMI of 35 or higher to be included in the study.

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