Guidelines for Preventing Childhood Obesity

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Childhood obesity has more than doubled since the 1970s, with almost one in every three children classified as overweight or obese. Excess body fat increases their risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, vision problems, and even dementia down the road. The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care has just published guidelines to help prevent and manage obesity in children. Those guidelines recommend regular growth monitoring and a focus on family lifestyles and health behaviors. Key recommendations include encouraging physicians to refer all overweight children between the ages of 2- and 17-years-old to structured behavioral programs aimed at achieving healthy growth, as well as pharmacologic treatments offered to overweight children. Parents often underestimate their children’s weights, which is why the task force recommends continual growth monitoring by a healthcare provider.

Summerbell C, Brown T: Childhood obesity: The guideline for primary care should form part of a whole system approach. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2015; March 30th.

Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care: Recommendations for growth monitoring, and prevention and management of overweight and obesity in children and youth in primary care. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2015; March 30th.

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