Video-based program successful in treating obese children

An example of a screenshot from the video-based KiCK program for weight loss in children. Credit: Felix Reschke

Obese children and teens lost weight and showed improved metabolic health after following a 12-month, video-based weight loss program, according to research presented today at the 60th annual meeting of the European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology. The multi-component educational program addressed food choices, meal quantities and physical activity during the 12 months of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in Germany. The participants not only lost weight, but also showed improvements in other measures of their metabolic health and dietary behaviour, all of which contribute to a better quality of life while reducing the risk of serious health problems in the future.

Obesity is a growing global epidemic associated with many other long-term health problems including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as an increased financial and care burden on health services. Among children and adolescents with obesity, there is an additional risk of psychological problems associated with the stigma of being overweight. Overweight and obesity in children are known to be multifactorial but in most cases, comprehensive family-focused educational programs can have a beneficial effect on children’s health. These educational programs typically provide long-term outpatient care by attending regular sessions designed to guide changes in nutrition and physical activity as well as providing psychological counseling to children and their families. The restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic have presented new challenges in treating patients with obesity and necessitated a new approach.

In this study, Dr. Felix Reschke and colleagues in Germany investigated the effectiveness of a video-based weight-loss program in a group of 108 obese children and adolescents (aged 8 to 17) over a 12-month period. This comprehensive program included educational seminars and workshops covering food choices, cooking and portion control, along with sessions on more challenging topics such as emotional eating and the health consequences of obesity.

The educational content was complemented by live cooking sessions, a weekly newsletter with tips, topical updates and even a live dance show. Halfway through the programme, parents competed with the children in a live test, to assess their knowledge of the topics covered, which the children won reassuringly. At the end of the study period, the majority of participants showed an improvement in Metabolic health Including lower body mass index, lower blood lipid levels and lower factors associated with insulin resistance. The participants were also getting better food choices With reduced portions and fewer snacks.

Video-based program successful in treating obese children

An example of a healthy recipe from the video-based KiCK program for weight loss in children. Credit: Felix Reschke

Dr. Rishke comments: “Successful treatment of childhood obesity is challenging work but we have shown that adolescents with pre-existing obesity can be helped through video-based training. Participants demonstrated improvements in their food choices, appetite control, and portion sizes, which were reflected in measurements of better for their metabolic health and quality of life.”

However, Dr. Rishke cautions, “These data are from a small cohort in a single centre, so it is imperative that these findings are replicated in larger cohorts and that we ensure that these successes can be sustained, especially the external constraints of the epidemic.”

These results confirm and extend small study published by the team after the first COVID-19 lockdown. They now plan to further investigate these positive results by testing the video-based training program with parents of overweight kindergarteners, to assess whether it can help prevent the development of obesity, through early educational intervention.

Dr Rishke adds: “Our results are very hopeful that this approach will be a useful and cost-effective model for treating obesity in children. It eliminates the need for regular face-to-face contact, which may be of particular benefit to those who find it difficult to attend appointments. Although we must be careful not to unnecessarily increase the amount of time spent on the screen children. It might be a good line but our data suggests that this approach is beneficial.”

Rebound weight gain in obese children is associated with a disruption of the brain-intestinal connection

more information:
Conclusion P1-282: Significant improvement in dietary behaviors and quality of life among obese adolescents in COVID19 lockdown through telehealth,

Presented by the European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology

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