New Systematic Review of the Impact of Paediatric Obesity Treatment on Depression and Anxiety

19 September 2019
Obesity Research

Understanding the psychological effect of obesity treatment interventions in children and young people is important, however there is limited research on the topic.

A new systematic review led by Hiba Jebeile, PhD candidate and research dietitian at The University of Sydney, Children’s Hospital Westmead Clinical School investigated the association between participation in structured and professionally run obesity treatment interventions with a dietary component and the change in symptoms of depression and anxiety in children and adolescents with obesity.

The review recently published in the Journal American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics is the first study to bring together the evidence on dietary interventions used for the treatment of obesity in young people, and the impact on depression and anxiety. With over 3000 articles screened, 44 studies met the inclusion criteria and were analysed.

The review concluded that in a combined total of 3702 participants with an age range of 5 to 17 years of age –structured, professionally run paediatric obesity treatment is not associated with an increased risk of depression or anxiety and can reduce symptoms, improving psychological wellbeing.

It is recommended that future interventions measure depression and anxiety (pre and post interventions) along with longer follow-ups to see if these benefits to psychological wellbeing are maintained. Together with another review published earlier this year assessing the impact of paediatric obesity treatment on eating disorder risk changes in psychological wellbeing could be considered  important treatment outcomes.

"More research on the mental health of children and young people with obesity is crucial. This research provides promising results that paediatric obesity treatment has broader benefits on the wellbeing of a young person." - Hiba Jebeile

For the full published article, please visit: Association of Pediatric Obesity Treatment, Including a Dietary Component, With Change in Depression and Anxiety

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