Most children and adolescents who are overweight or have obesity are identified through primary health care. The role of a GP in assessing and managing this population is integral in optimising the health of these young people and improving their psychosocial outcomes. This article outlines an approach for primary clinicians to follow when they encounter a child or adolescent with overweight or obesity.
- GPs are well positioned to identify overweight and obesity in children and adolescents.
- Raising the issue can be difficult but it is often well received.
- Simple strategies such as routine monitoring of body mass index in addition to targeted history taking and physical examination can assist in assessment.
- Brief, opportunistic interventions, including advice about the benefits of weight loss, have proven effective.
- Management strategies should be family-based and consist of lifestyle interventions as well as supportive measures for behavioural change.
- Early intervention leads to better outcomes.