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Pediatric Weight Management

PWM: Benefits and Risks/Harms of Implementation (2007)

Benefits and Risks/Harms of Implementing the Recommendations

Safety issues should be considered for each form of treatment recommended. A description of the general benefits and risks associated with implementation of this guideline must be addressed.

Potential Benefits

A priority aim and benefit of implementing the recommendations in this guideline is to improve the number of children and adolescents who are able to meet their treatment goal, whether by reducing body weight, preventing weight gain, improving body composition, or maintaining weight loss.

Risk/Harm Considerations

Factors to consider when exploring treatment options include:

  • Certain factors, such as age, socioeconomic status, cultural issues and disease conditions, need to be taken into consideration in the application of these guidelines
  • Clinical judgment in the application of these guidelines is necessary for patients with certain conditions such as pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, oncology treatment, severe psychiatric disorders and metabolic diseases such as Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Application of this guideline to children less than 6 years of age is not appropriate except where indicated.
  • Classification of obesity and determination of energy needs may not apply to certain individuals
  • Reduction of caloric intake may result in nutritional inadequacies. Therefore, special attention should be paid to maintaining adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.
  • Intense physical activity in some individuals who are overweight or obese may contribute to disability or death, thus consultation with a physician prior to beginning an exercise program is recommended
  • Adverse side effects have been observed in some patients receiving pharmacotherapy for weight management. Only those drugs approved by the FDA for long-term use in a pediatric population have data to support long-term safety and efficacy
  • Weight loss can produce adverse effects and regular monitoring by health professionals is advised.