What are the effects of weight loss and reductions in BMI in childhood obesity?

Updated: Feb 20, 2019
  • Author: Steven M Schwarz, MD, FAAP, FACN, AGAF; Chief Editor: Jatinder Bhatia, MBBS, FAAP  more...
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Answer

Recognize that a loss of 5-20% of total body weight can reduce many of the health risks associated with obesity in adults; however, whether modest weight loss or moderate reductions in BMI can improve outcomes in pediatric patients or reduce the long-term risks of obesity in adulthood is not known. Because dramatic reductions in BMI are difficult to achieve and sustain in children and adolescents as well as adults, initiating counseling and therapy may be prudent with realistic goals that emphasize gradual reductions in body fat and BMI and maintenance of weight loss rather than a rapid return to ideal body weight. Reductions in body weight are accompanied by equivalent reductions in energy expenditure. Consequently, maintenance of a given weight in a patient with obesity necessitates a lower energy intake than maintenance of an equivalent weight in a patient who has never been obese.


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