Seven Steps to Curbing Childhood Obesity

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Seven Steps to Curbing Childhood Obesity

An expert panel from the Centers for Obesity Research and Education have developed a program, called Seven Steps to Success, which they say represents a new method of treating childhood and teen obesity by moving the patient step-by-step through seven levels of increasingly intense treatment, stopping at whatever step is most effective for each individual.

What are these magical steps, you ask? Here they are in a nutshell…

The first is medical management, which means regular visits to the pediatrician to monitor the child’s weight and any related health problems. Then education – counseling parents and children on a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Step three is environmental changes – changing the child’s environment to reduce triggers for unhealthy eating and promote more physical activity. Next is engaging kids and teens in a special support group, like Weight Watchers, that is focused on goal-setting, planning, and self-monitoring.

Number five is Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which is psychiatric therapy that emphasizes a person’s thoughts or feelings. The first step would be performed in a clinical or short-term environment, and if necessary, would be followed by a second level of therapy that takes place in a residential environment, like a boarding school or clinic.

And, finally, if necessary, bariatric surgery, with appropriate post-operative psychological and social support and continuing care.

Not everyone has to complete all seven steps – the goal is for children and teens to resolve their weight issues early in the process. The program’s developers also note that the key to the Seven Steps program is its emphasis on family therapy. Pediatric obesity can only be treated, they say, if parents become fully involved, knowledgeable, and actively initiate major lifestyle changes for themselves and their children.

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