Latest health evidence shows that making changes to diet, physical activity and behaviour may reduce obesity in children and adolescents

Two recent Cochrane Reviews from Cochrane Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders are the last in a series of related systematic reviews summarizing evidence on the effects of different interventions for treating obesity and overweight in childhood and adolescence.

The reviews summarize the results of 114 studies which involved more than 13,000 children and young people. They show that a combination of diet, physical activity, and behavioural change interventions may reduce weight in children aged six to 11 years and in adolescents aged 12 to 17, but there are limitations in the studies and variation in the results.

Childhood and adolescent obesity is one of the leading global public health concerns. Rapid weight gain in children as young as six years old has increased globally, and has significant mental and physical health consequences such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, sleep problems, and low self-esteem. Obesity in childhood and adolescence can persist into adulthood, increasing the risk of poor health in later life.

For more on these reviews, please see the full Featured Review story.