Why can’t doctors help kids lose weight?

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According to findings recently published online in British Medical Journal counseling from primary care physicians does not seem to help kids lose weight, neither does it help them increase their physical activity. The Australian randomized trial found little to no activity or weight-loss difference between obese children who received counseling from a family doctor and those that did not. The authors of the study advised that, as physician counseling and screening is such an expensive process, advocates for weight loss should question whether or not this type of approach should be used in the US. According to Melissa Wake, MD, of Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, and colleagues, “These findings cast doubt on many countries’ current policies that support universal surveillance coupled with brief, individualized secondary prevention by the primary care sector to reduce childhood obesity… resources may be better divided between primary prevention at the community and population levels, and enhancement of clinical treatment options for children with established obesity.” I can’t help but wonder, after reading the findings of this study, if the doctors were largely unsuccessful due to the fact that they’re not therapists, motivation being equally as important as the presentation of information. Click here to read an article from Medpage Today that discusses this study more.

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