Childhood obesity – a new domain of the multidisciplinary preventive program

Childhood and adolescence obesity attracts attention as a disease by itself as well as in the context of its course through adulthood. The role of obesity prevention arises from its prevalence, direct and indirect effects on population morbidity and mortality, and because of the limited therapeutic options, in particular in childhood. Childhood obesity is analyzed from a holistic standpoint, with special reference to measures of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. Efficient prevention of childhood obesity requires a multidisciplinary approach integrated through the family and all levels of the educational and healthcare systems. The programs of childhood obesity prevention are led by professional teams coordinated at local and national levels and consisting of a paediatrician/specialist in school medicine, a physical education teacher, a nutritionist and a psychologist. The goal of primary prevention of childhood obesity is to stimulate children to acquire a healthy lifestyle, which is the most demanding segment of the entire prevention program and it necessitates long-term motivation of a large number of the various professionals involved. Secondary prevention addresses individuals at risk or a population at risk of developing obesity. The goal is timely identification of excess weight and potential obesity with associated comorbidities. Blood pressure levels, lipidogram, hepatogram, urine analysis, and blood glucose levels are monitored. Maintaining appropriate body weight is monitored by anthropometric measurements taken once or preferably twice a year. Tertiary prevention relies on a multidisciplinary approach and implies individualized recording of obesity related problems and associated diseases, with regular anthropometric and biochemical follow up. Successful implementation of the program for prevention of childhood and adolescence obesity requires the full engagement of the community at large, the mass media and the pharmaceutical industry, along with appropriate legislation and financial support from the respective authorities.

Category: Clinical observations - professional paper
Volume: Vol. 54, No 1, january - march 2010
Authors: I. Bralić, M. Jovančević, S. Predavec, J. Grgurić
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