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Psychiatric aspects of child and adolescent obesity: a review of the past 10 years.

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Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



To review the past 10 years of published research on psychiatric aspects of child and adolescent obesity and highlight information mental health professionals need for preventing obesity in youths and diagnosing and treating it.


Researchers performed computerized and manual searches of the literature and summarized the most relevant articles.


The growing epidemic of child and adolescent obesity deserves attention for its immediate mental health and long-term medical complications. Mental health professionals working with obese youths should be aware of recent advances in neuroscience, genetics, and etiologies associated with obesity. Those who assess and treat obese youth should view obesity as a chronic disease. Currently, no approved pharmacological or surgical approaches exist to treat childhood obesity.


Health care providers should focus on modest weight-loss goals that correlate with significant health benefits. The most effective treatments include substantial parental involvement. Mental health professionals should help obese children build self-esteem to help them lead full lives regardless of weight.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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