Feature Article

Management of adolescent obesity – what works and how we define success

Feature Article

Management of adolescent obesity – what works and how we define success

KATHARINE STEINBECK, KATHRYN WILLIAMS

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© LARABELOVA/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY
© LARABELOVA/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

Abstract

Adolescence is a time of dramatic physical, neurocognitive and psychosocial change. These changes demand developmentally appropriate approaches, priorities and definitions of success when managing adolescent patients with overweight and obesity. Engagement, patience and flexibility are key.

Key Points

  • Adolescent obesity is unlikely to spontaneously remit and intervention should not be delayed until adulthood as health trajectories are established in adolescence.
  • Adolescent obesity is associated with psychosocial and medical comorbidities, and these should be considered when discussing weight management goals with the patient.
  • The principles of weight management for adolescents are often the same as for adults but have a much smaller evidence base.
  • Lifestyle management is key to long-term weight loss and remains essential even if additional therapies are added.
  • Time and patience are needed to engage the young person and understand their goals.