Psychologists at the forefront of weight management

Oct 20, 2010

Over the last few decades, the dramatic rise in pediatric obesity rates has emerged as a public health threat requiring urgent attention. The responsibility of identifying and treating eating and weight-related problems early in children and adolescents falls to health care providers and other professionals who work with the child, according to Professor Denise Wilfley and colleagues from the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in the US. Furthermore, the key to successful treatment is a team effort involving providers and parents.

Wilfley's review1 of the causes, consequences, and early intervention of eating and weight-related problems in young people is published online in Springer's Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. Wilfley and colleagues' paper highlights the important roles of providers in this effort.

The review examines the scope of the obesity problem, highlighting the dramatic increases in childhood obesity. The authors focus on the causes of eating- and weight-related problems in children and adolescents, attending to the complex interactions between environmental and biological factors, and dysregulated eating behaviors known as appetitive traits. In particular, the authors discuss binge eating and loss-of-control eating; satiety responsiveness or eating in the absence of hunger; motivation to ; and impulsivity. For each trait, the authors identify screening approaches, as well as targeted intervention strategies that can be implemented by providers.

The authors find that, by far, the most effective strategies to combat are lifestyle behavioral interventions, and those involving the whole family in particular. Family-based behavioral interventions are considered the first-line of treatment for pediatric overweight, and weight maintenance interventions aimed at the socio-environmental context are indicated as well. These interventions promote small, successive changes in children's dietary and physical activity behaviors through the use of behavior change strategies and familial support.

The authors conclude: "Not only are there more obese children now than in the past, but the severity of overweight among these children is also much greater. The dramatic increase in pediatric has created a mounting need for clinicians, psychologists, and other mental to play a significant role in the assessment and treatment of youth with eating- and weight-related problems."

Explore further: Goalkeepers prone to 'gambler's fallacy' but penalty takers fail to exploit it

More information: Wilfley DE et al (2010). Early intervention of eating- and weight-related problems. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. DOI:10.1007/s10880-010-9209-0

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

COMPASS points to weight loss

Dec 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Obesity researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are recruiting families with overweight children for a study to help those kids, and their parents, lose weight. The two-year study, ...

Identifying Risk for Obesity in Early Childhood

Sep 05, 2006

A new research study of children’s growth, published in the September issue of Pediatrics, can help parents and pediatricians determine the risk that a child will be overweight at age 12 by examining the child’s earlie ...

Recommended for you

Giving emotions to virtual characters

10 hours ago

Researchers at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM) were able to simulate human facial expressions in virtual characters and use them in order to create better environments within a virtual ...

Emotion-tracking software aims for "mood-aware" internet

11 hours ago

Emotions can be powerful for individuals. But they're also powerful tools for content creators, such as advertisers, marketers, and filmmakers. By tracking people's negative or positive feelings toward ads—via ...

The emotional appeal of stand-up comedy

11 hours ago

Comics taking to the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe this week should take note: how much of a hit they are with their audiences won't be down to just their jokes. As Dr Tim Miles from the University of Surrey has discovered, ...

User comments : 0