Teaching healthy eating strategies to obese children and teens can help them think differently about their diet and exercise habits, say researchers from Beatrix Children's Hospital in The Netherlands.
In this new report published in the Cochrane Library, researchers reviewed 64 studies comparing behavioural diet and exercise counselling to drug therapy aimed at helping obese children with weight loss.
Included in the review were trials which used drugs like Orlistat, a drug that blocks fat absorption, or Sibutramine, an appetite suppressant. Both sets of drug trials showed significant weight loss benefits - along with a number of adverse drug effects.
Overall, diet and exercise counselling alone proved effective in helping kids lose weight.
Researchers were unable to show whether one drug was more effective than another. It also didn't show that behavioural counselling was better than drugs.
The review did show that behavioural diet counselling that involves the whole family and targets attitudes about eating can help children and adolescents more than the usual care from a physician - or self-help - in the short-term and in the long run.
Weight loss drugs like orlistat and sibutramine should be considered as part of a program of nutrition and exercise counselling - and drug therapy needs to be carefully weighed against potential adverse events, say the nutrition researchers.
Looking for help with weight loss for a child or teen? Check out nutrition counselling with Leslie Beck, RD.
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