Background: Childhood obesity rates in the United States have tripled over the past three decades, with roughly a third of children and adolescents currently falling in weight range that would qualify them for a diagnosis of overweight or obesity. The current standard treatment of childhood obesity is lifestyle modification, including diet and exercise, but data suggest that more comprehensive and aggressive approach may be necessary to achieve such success.
Findings: A chart review of the first 50 pediatric subjects enrolled in a comprehensive medical weight loss program (BOUNCE) was conducted to establish the initial efficacy of the approach. Participants lost a mean of 14.75 pounds over a mean of 7.53 months of participation. Program drop-outs lost the least weight (mean loss=9.74 lbs. and 1.93 BMI points), with larger improvements observed in current participants (mean loss=18.79 lbs and 3.56 BMI points) and program completers (mean loss=25.83 lbs and 5.13 BMI points). The differences between these groups were significant in terms of BMI (p=0.021). Time in program and greater age at the start of program were significant predictors in linear models of the outcomes.
Conclusions: Comprehensive medical weight loss approaches appear to be effective at reducing weight and BMI in a pediatric population, with greater effects seen in older (adolescent) patients. As an alternative to more restricted medical approaches as well as to more invasive and riskier bariatric surgical procedures in pediatric patients, comprehensive medical approaches to weight loss warrant further development and study