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Recommendations Summary

Pediatric Weight Management (PWM) Nutrition Education in the Treatment of Pediatric Obesity

Click here to see the explanation of recommendation ratings (Strong, Fair, Weak, Consensus, Insufficient Evidence) and labels (Imperative or Conditional). To see more detail on the evidence from which the following recommendations were drawn, use the hyperlinks in the Supporting Evidence Section below.

  • Recommendation(s)

    PWM: Tailor Nutrition Education to Nutrition Prescription

    In a multi-component program, if there is a Nutrition Diagnosis for food and nutrition-related knowledge deficit, then Nutrition Education should be tailored to the Nutrition Prescription. Research shows that if nutrition education is not tailored to nutrition prescription, improvement in weight status is not consistent.

    Rating: Fair

    • Risks/Harms of Implementing This Recommendation


    • Conditions of Application

      The patient or the patient's family will almost always need some form of Nutrition Education. It is imperative that patient education be tailored to the specific knowledge deficits identified in the Nutrition Assessment.

      According to the Nutrition Diagnosis and Intervention: Standardized Language of the Nutrition Care Process:

      Nutrition Education is a formal process to instruct or train a patient/client in a skill or to impart knowledge to help the patients/clients voluntarily manage or modify food choices and eating behavior to maintain or improve health...In [some] cases the patient/client knows what to do but has been unable to make or sustain a behavioral change. (p.191).

      Thus, the dietitian must distinguish between the etiology or cause of the problem. If the patient or client or their family demonstrates adequate knowledge, but are still unable to make the behavioral changes, then nutrition education should be tailored to take advantage of existing knowledge to support the desired behavior change.

      Thus, it is critical for the nutrition education intervention be closely coordinated with the Nutrition Prescription.

    • Potential Costs Associated with Application

      Absence of health insurance coverage for weight management could limit program access.

    • Recommendation Narrative

      Results from studies that include Nutrition Education without a prescribed diet plan are less consistent than results where nutrition education interventions were integrated with the Nutrition Prescription:

    • Recommendation Strength Rationale

      A strong body of research indicates much more consistent results when Nutrition Education is tailored to an individualized Nutrition Prescription [Grade I for combined nutrition prescription and nutrition education, Grade III (children) and Grade II (adolescents) for nutrition education alone.]

    • Minority Opinions