-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- A type of therapy that helps
people change their behavior seems to benefit severely obese
children but not severely obese teens, new research suggests.
The study included 643 Swedish youngsters (313 female and 330
male) aged 6 to 16, who began "behavioral treatment" for obesity
between 1998 and 2006. The investigators used a scoring method for
assessing weight data that took into account the age and gender of
each study participant and allowed for analysis of differences over
Moderately obese children in the youngest age group had a good
response to behavioral therapy. The treatment was less effective in
older children with moderate obesity, but still had a significant
effect, the researchers found.
Severely obese young children had the best response to
behavioral therapy, but it had little effect on severely obese
teens, said Pernilla Danielsson, of the Karolinska Institute in
Stockholm, and colleagues.
The study was slated for presentation Friday at the European
Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France.
"Behavioral treatment is successful when initiated early in life both for moderately and severely obese children," Danielsson said in a news release. "Adolescents with severe obesity show no effect at all of behavioral treatment, while those adolescents with moderate obesity show a response that is much less pronounced than for younger children with moderate obesity."
Among severely obese teens in the study, 92 percent were already
obese and 51 percent were severely obese by the time they reached
age 7. Among moderately obese teens, 46 percent were obese by age
7, and 8 percent were severely obese at that age.
"This means early treatment may be one way to reduce treatment failures during adolescence," Danielsson said. "For the severely obese adolescents, new treatment [methods] such as gastric banding or gastric bypass need to be developed and tested."
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical
meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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