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Treating obesity in children

Childhood obesity affects both the physical and psychosocial health of children and may put them at risk of ill health as adults. More information is needed about the best way to treat obesity in children and adolescents. In this review, 64 studies were examined including 54 studies on lifestyle treatments (with a focus on diet, physical activity or behaviour change) and 10 studies on drug treatment to help overweight and obese children and their families with weight control. No surgical treatment studies were suitable to include in this review. This review showed that lifestyle programs can reduce the level of overweight in child and adolescent obesity 6 and 12 months after the beginning of the program. In moderate to severely obese adolescents, a reduction in overweight was found when either the drug orlistat, or the drug sibutramine were given in addition to a lifestyle program, although a range of adverse effects was also noted. Information on the long‐term outcome of obesity treatment in children and adolescents was limited and needs to be examined in some high quality studies.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Interventions for preventing obesity in children

Childhood obesity can cause social, psychological and health problems, and is linked to obesity later in life and poor health outcomes as an adult.  Obesity development is related to physical activity and nutrition. To prevent obesity, 55 studies conducted internationally have looked at programmes aiming to improve either or both of these behaviours.  Although many studies were able to improve children’s nutrition or physical activity to some extent, only some studies were able to see an effect of the programme on children’s levels of fatness.  When we combined the studies, we were able to see that these programmes made a positive difference, but there was much variation between the study findings which we could not explain. Also, it appeared that the findings may be biased by missing small studies with negative findings. We also tried to work out why some programmes work better than others, and whether there was potential harm associated with children being involved in the programmes.  Although only a few studies looked at whether programmes were harmful, the results suggest that those obesity prevention strategies do not increase body image concerns, unhealthy dieting practices, level of underweight, or unhealthy attitudes to weight, and that all children can benefit.  It is important that more studies in very young children and adolescents are conducted to find out more about obesity prevention in these age groups, and also that we assess how long the intervention effects last.  Also, we need to develop ways of ensuring that research findings benefit all children by embedding the successful programme activities into everyday practices in homes, schools, child care settings, the health system and the wider community.     

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Keeping Children at a Healthy Weight: A Review of the Research on Ways To Avoid Becoming Overweight or Obese

This summary will cover: How to know if your child is at a healthy weight What body mass index (BMI) is and what BMI percentiles are What health problems being overweight or obese could cause in a child What might lead to a child becoming overweight or obese What can be done at home, in school, and in the community to help keep children from becoming overweight or obese What researchers have found about things that can be done at home, at school, and in the community

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: September 19, 2013

Oral appliances and functional orthopaedic appliances for obstructive sleep apnoea in children

Treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) in children appears to be possible with oral appliances or functional orthopaedic appliances. However this is only based on data from one small study.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2008

Lifestyle interventions for improving school achievement in overweight or obese children and adolescents

Many children and adolescents worldwide are overweight or obese. Children and adolescents who are overweight or obese have increased physical disease and emotional distress. They also perform less well on tests of thinking (cognitive ability), and they do less well in school. To prevent and treat obesity, several lifestyle changes have been suggested, for example, being more physically active, eating fewer calories and sitting less. These interventions are known to improve thinking skills and school achievement in children of normal weight. It is unknown whether the effects are the same in overweight or obese children and adolescents.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Corticosteroid therapy for children with nephrotic syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome is a condition where the kidneys leak protein from the blood into the urine. When it is untreated, children can often die from infections. Most children, with nephrotic syndrome, respond to corticosteroid drugs (prednisone, prednisolone) reducing the risk of serious infection. However they usually have repeat episodes, which are often triggered by viral infections. Corticosteroid drugs can have serious side effects.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Medications for high blood pressure in children

This systematic review includes 21 trials, involving 3454 children, which evaluated different medications to lower blood pressure among children with hypertension. This evidence is up to date as of October 2013. Most trials were of very short duration with the average being seven weeks. The studies were of variable quality and mostly industry funded. Not all studies compared the effect of medication on blood pressure lowering to a placebo. Only a few classes of the commonly prescribed drugs have been evaluated and most had a modest effect on blood pressure, but it is uncertain whether this results in improved long‐term outcomes for children. Higher doses of medication did not result in greater reduction of blood pressure. All of the drugs studied were safe for use, at least in the short term.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Reducing the Risk of Breast Cancer With Medicine: A Guide for Women

This guide can help you talk with your doctor or nurse about medicine to reduce the risk of breast cancer. It talks about two different medicines. It gives information about benefits, side effects, and cost.

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: January 13, 2010

Pregnancy and birth: Weight gain in pregnancy

It is important for pregnant women to have a balanced diet, both for themselves and their child. This helps them put on a good amount of weight. But how much weight gain is considered to be “normal” in pregnancy? Can mothers-to-be eat as much as they like? And how can they lose weight again afterwards?“Don’t worry – the weight will soon drop off when you start breastfeeding!”, “Be careful – I never lost the weight after my second baby”, “Eat anything you want – you’re eating for two!”… As with so many issues surrounding pregnancy, it can seem as though everyone has an opinion about weight gain. With all the contradictory advice going around, it can be hard to know what to do.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: March 19, 2014

Treating Sleep Apnea: A Review of the Research for Adults

A doctor said you have mild, moderate, or severe “obstructive sleep apnea,” or OSA. People with OSA may snore and stop (or “pause”) their breathing a few or many times when they sleep.

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: August 8, 2011

Preventing type 2 diabetes

People who have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes can delay diagnosis of the condition by at least a few years by changing their diet, getting more exercise and losing some weight. It is not clear whether making lifestyle changes can also prevent serious complications such as heart attacks.Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed if blood sugar is above a particular level. While many people do not notice that their blood sugar levels are too high, over time they can damage the small blood vessels in the eyes, nerves and kidneys, eventually also damaging these organs. People whose blood sugar levels are too high are also at greater risk of complications like having a heart attack at a younger age than people with lower blood sugar levels. That is why the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes is particularly focused on lowering the risk of complications as much as possible.But being diagnosed with diabetes will have an immediate impact on you, because from that point on you are considered to be chronically ill. Doctors will suggest going to support classes and you will be given recommendations about lifestyle changes and medication. So even just being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can actually change your life quite suddenly.When you are considering which prevention recommendations to follow, it is important to remember that good prevention is not just about never being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It also aims to lower the risk of heart attacks and other long-term complications.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: December 17, 2014

Childhood Craniopharyngioma Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of childhood craniopharyngioma

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: March 16, 2015

Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the health problems that continue or appear after cancer treatment has ended.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: November 7, 2014

Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare. 2nd edition

How do we know whether a particular treatment really works? How reliable is the evidence? And how do we ensure that research into medical treatments best meets the needs of patients? These are just a few of the questions addressed in a lively and informative way in Testing Treatments. Brimming with vivid examples, Testing Treatments will inspire both patients and professionals.

Pinter & Martin.

Version: 2011
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Do weight loss programs have beneficial effects on asthma outcomes in people with asthma?

Asthma is a disease affecting people of all races ages and gender. People with asthma experience recurrent episodes of cough, chest tightness or shortness of breath, which may limit daily activities. In the past few decades, research has shown that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to have asthma as well as have severe symptoms. This review sought to find out if weight loss interventions in overweight or obese patients with asthma, improve asthma control, as well as achieved weight loss.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Chromium picolinate supplementation for overweight or obese people

Chromium is an essential nutrient (trace element) required for the normal metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fat (i.e. the chemical reactions involved in breaking down these molecules to a form suitable for absorption by the body). Chromium increases the activity of insulin, and dietary supplementation with chromium has produced improvements in glucose metabolism which may lower blood glucose being important for overweight people with diabetes. It is generally believed that chromium may help to reduce a person's weight by decreasing the amount of fat in the body. Chromium is also said to suppress the appetite and stimulate the production of heat by the body, thus increasing energy expenditure. This may contribute to weight loss. Chromium picolinate is one of several chemical compounds of chromium sold as a nutritional supplement as a potential aid to weight loss.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Breast Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about factors that may increase the risk of developing breast cancer and about research aimed at the prevention of this disease.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: October 9, 2014

Medical Encyclopedia

  • Overweight and Obesity
    The terms 'overweight' and 'obesity' refer to body weight that’s greater than what is considered healthy for a certain height.
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome
    Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) is a breathing disorder that affects some obese people. In OHS, poor breathing results in too much carbon dioxide and too little oxygen in the blood.
  • Drug Class Review: Newer Antihistamines: Final Report Update 2 [Internet]
    Antihistamines inhibit the effects of histamine at H1 receptors. They have a number of clinical indications including allergic conditions (e.g., rhinitis, dermatoses, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, allergic conjunctivitis, hypersensitivity reactions to drugs, mild transfusion reactions, and urticaria), chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU), motion sickness, vertigo, and insomnia.
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Systematic Reviews in PubMed

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