Respect That Weight Reductions in Childhood Obesity Are SMALL

Woolford and others at the University of Michigan worked intensively with obese children for 6 months with individual consultation and exercise supervision.  The children reduced their BMI from an average BMI of 40 to an average BMI of 37.3.

This is considered a very successful obesity reduction program. This study illustrates several concerns with the current obesity campaigns.  In the study, say a child was 5’2″ and weighed 219 at the start of the study.  At the end of 6 tough months, the successful child then weighed about 204 pounds.  Note:  this BMI is still considered obese.  Doctors, parents, individuals and educators need to understand that when successful obesity reduction occurs:  the child can still be obese after the intervention.  Is the child’s health improved?  Absolutely.  But zealots will continue to press for more and faster weight loss every time.

At ANAD our concern is that if a child was successful in this way, he is still going to be receiving negative feedback that he is obese and needs to change.  It is important for people who help children to put weight and obesity issues in context.  It isn’t what the child weighs, it is their lifestyle.  And if an obese child improves their lifestyle, adults should praise and encourage the child, not keep pointing out that they are still obese and continue to look at them as unhealthy. Even in successful programs, weight loss is small and obesity continues. We need to understand that success isn’t black and white.