How is obesity in children treated?

Obesity in children develops over time, and it takes time to lose weight in a healthy way. The goals for your child are to decrease weight gain, and to make sure he is growing normally. Discuss specific goals for your child with his healthcare provider, who may suggest lifestyle changes, such as the following:

  • Do not allow teasing or nicknames that have to do with weight.
  • Do not talk too much about your child's weight. This could lead to other problems, such as your child refusing to eat enough.
  • Encourage your child to sleep at least seven to eight hours each night.
  • Give your child positive feedback for changing behaviors.
  • Limit extracurricular activities where your child is sitting down to one to two hours each day. This includes watching television, playing video games and using the computer.
  • Your child may eat more when there is stress in his life. Teach your child healthy ways to cope with stress.

Your healthcare provider may determine that your child may need to take medicines to treat health problems caused by obesity. Certain types of medicine may help your child lose weight when he follows a healthy diet, and does regular exercise. Healthcare providers may suggest the following:

  • Appetite suppressant: This medicine helps your child feel full so he may want to eat less food.
  • Lipase inhibitor: This medicine is also called a fat blocker. It blocks your child's body from storing the fat in his food.
Craig B. Primack, MD
General Practice

The first recommendation is to discuss the child's health and weight with your pediatrician.  Your pediatrician can calculate the child's "BMI for age."  The BMI for age is used because the standard BMI criteria used for adults does not apply to growing children.

For further treatment options, after discussion with your pediatrician, you may look for a physician who specializes in the treatment of obesity at or

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.