0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Advice for Patients |

Diets to Prevent or Treat Obesity FREE

Megan A. Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH; Fred Furtner; Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(6):580. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.96.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Obesity is a serious health problem that impacts many children and adolescents. Today, obesity is defined using the body mass index (BMI), which incorporates both the child's weight and height (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared). Obesity is defined as having a BMI of greater than the 95th percentile.

Obesity affects all major organ systems, including the skeletal, muscular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, reproductive, cardiovascular, and pulmonary systems. Complications of obesity in children can be both life threatening and life ending. For these reasons, many families consider diets to prevent or treat obesity.

WHAT ARE SOME POPULAR DIETS TODAY?

THE DASH DIET

The DASH diet was developed as a “Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension” (DASH). Major components include:

  • • Low-fat dairy (less than 2% fat).

  • • Fish, chicken, and lean meat.

  • • Fruits and vegetables.

  • • Nuts, whole grains, and legumes.

An emphasis in this diet is on eating from all of these categories. Eating in this combination is suggested to decrease saturated fat intake and increase calcium, potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber intake. Early research studies of this diet suggested that the combined diet led to lower blood pressure compared with just increasing fruit and vegetable intake. This diet has also been studied in relation to other diseases related to obesity, such as metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. In this month's Archives, a research study of adolescent girls found that eating patterns that were more consistent with a DASH diet led to a consistently lower BMI between the ages of 9 and 19 years.

LOW-CARBOHYDRATE DIETS

These diets include low-carbohydrate/high-protein diets (Atkins and protein-sparing modified fast [PSMF]) and low–glycemic index diets (South Beach). Major components include:

  • • High protein intake.

  • • Low carbohydrate intake (some include an initial restrictive phase in which carbohydrate intake is severely restricted).

  • • Some restrict fats, others do not.

These diets are highly restrictive in what can and cannot be eaten. As a result, it may be difficult for children or adolescents to follow these diets for very long. Dietary experts have reviewed these diets and found that there are many gaps in our understanding of how these diets work and whether they are healthy in the long term. Because of the lack of consensus among health professionals about low-carbohydrate diets, using these diets to manage weight is controversial. It is particularly controversial to use these diets in children or adolescents because they are still growing and need a variety of nutrients and foods.

In conclusion, while children and adolescents who are severely overweight may benefit from diets, “fad” diets should be viewed with caution. When considering a diet change for your child or adolescent, it is important to remember that the diet should provide a model of appropriate eating for the rest of their lives rather than a “quick fix.”

Healthy eating contributes to overall healthy growth and development, including healthy bones, skin, and energy levels, and a lowered risk of dental caries, eating disorders, constipation, malnutrition, and iron deficiency anemia.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/healthyYouth/nutrition/index.htm

INFORM YOURSELF

To find this and other Advice for Patients articles, go to the Advice for Patients link on the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine Web site at http://www.archpediatrics.com.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2008/oct/pdf/07_0118.pdf

Box Section Ref ID

The Advice for Patients feature is a public service of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your child's medical condition, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine suggests that you consult your child's physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.

Tables

References

Correspondence

CME
Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Submit a Comment

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...
Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles