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Counselling with Intensive Lifestyle Modification for Obesity

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The world health organization recommends focus treatment on “intensive, age-appropriate, family centred and culturally sensitive lifestyle modifications. These interventions basically include dietary, behavioural and physical activity interventions targeted at reducing BMI i.e. Body Mass Index.

Counselling sessions can educate parents and children on healthy eating habits, including the following:

  • Decreasing the consumption of fast food, consumption of added tabled sugars, high-fructose syrup, high fat, high sodium or processed food.
  • Complete elimination of sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Increase in the consumption of whole fruit rather than fruit juices.
  • Intake of proper dietary fibre, fruits and vegetables
  • Inculcating portion control

Children should eat timely and regular meals each day to avoid constant grazing, specifically when the temptation to eat unhealthy snacks is high. They further suggest that parents should be encouraged to assess eating cues in the child’s environment such as boredom, loneliness, stress, or screen time to determine whether these factors are contributing to excessive eating.

Along with healthy eating, increased physical activity is the key to weight control. They recommend that children should participate in a minimum of 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, keeping a goal of 60 minutes per day. Parents should be encouraged to limit non-academic screen time and other sedentary digital activities to not more than 1 to 2 hours per day.

Physical activity among children can be increased by encouraging them to walk to and from school if possible, by encouraging increased use of stairs, by providing them more breaks for movement in the classroom. Playtime can be allotted them for increased movement during recess.

Educating the entire family on healthy eating and exercise patterns, thereby participating in these lifestyle modifications to support the child.

In case diet and exercise fail to limit weight gain or any conditions related to this, your specialist may then recommend obesity medications or therapies with an intensive lifestyle modification program.

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