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Researchers highlight how intervention can impact on childhood obesity

22 June 2017 @TeesUniNews

 

Teesside University has been involved in research which highlights the vital role of diet and physical activity play in treating obesity in children and adolescents.

Dr Emma Mead
Dr Emma Mead

Researchers from universities worldwide collaborated on two Cochrane Reviews to examine health evidence on the effects of different interventions for treating obesity and overweight in childhood and adolescence.

Cochrane Reviews gather and summarise health evidence from research in order to present findings which can be used in decision making.

The two reviews looked at the effects of diet, physical activity and behavioural interventions in treating children aged six to 11 and adolescents aged 12 to 17.

The reviews, which summarised the results of 114 studies involving around 13,000 children and young people, showed that a combination of diet, physical activity and behavioural change interventions have an important role.

A combination of these factors may manage weight in children aged six to 11, and in adolescents aged 12 to 17. However, both reviews highlighted the need for more research in order to explore the variation between the study results more fully.

Dr Emma Mead, from Teesside University’s School of Health & Social Care, led the review into research involving six to 11-year-olds.

She said: 'These reviews are important, as they provide the most up-to-date evidence to show that behaviour changing interventions can help treat children with obesity or overweight.

These reviews are important, as they provide the most up-to-date evidence

Dr Emma Mead

'However, we need to do more work to understand how to maintain the positive effects of the intervention after it has finished, and understand which interventions work best in lower income countries, and for families from different socio-demographic backgrounds.'

Both these latest Cochrane Reviews will inform ongoing work by the World Health Organization.

Childhood and adolescent obesity is a global public health concern, with numbers of overweight children increasing globally.

It can lead to significant mental and physical health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, sleep problems and low self-esteem. Obesity in childhood and adolescence can persist into adulthood, increasing the risk of poor health in later life.

Both reviews highlight the need for more research to explore the variation between the study results more fully.

Dr Lena Al-Khudairy, Research Fellow from the Division of Health Sciences at the University of Warwick, who led the review of adolescents, said: 'Approaches that combine many interventions can be effective to tackle overweight and obesity in teenagers, but we still need to know more about what specific components are most effective and in whom, and importantly learn more about adolescents’ views about the interventions.'


In the News

Combination of diet, exercise, and behaviour change may help weight loss in child obesity
British Medical Journal (Web) 22/06/2017; Nutrition Insight, 22/06/2017; ScienceNewsline, 23/06/2017; EuropaWire, 26/06/2017; Bariatric News, 26/06/2017; Food Navigator, 26/06/2017; British Medical Journal, 29/06/2017; BMJ, 01/07/2017
Graduate Emma Mead, lead author of the Cochrane review in children, says we need to do more work to understand how to maintain the positive effects of the intervention.