Interventions for treating children and adolescents with overweight and obesity: an overview of Cochrane reviews

Ells LJ, Rees K, Brown T, Mead E, Al-Khudairy L, Azevedo L, McGeechan GJ, Baur L, Loveman E, Clements H, Rayco-Solon P, Farpour-Lambert N, Demaio A.

Children and adolescents with overweight and obesity are a global health concern.
This is an integrative overview of six Cochrane systematic reviews, providing an 
up-to-date synthesis of the evidence examining interventions for the treatment of
children and adolescents with overweight or obesity. The data extraction and
quality assessments for each review were conducted by one author and checked by a
second. The six high quality reviews provide evidence on the effectiveness of
behaviour changing interventions conducted in children <6 years (7 trials),
6-11 years (70 trials), adolescents 12-17 years (44 trials) and interventions
that target only parents of children aged 5-11 years (20 trials); in addition to 
interventions examining surgery (1 trial) and drugs (21 trials). Most of the
evidence was derived from high-income countries and published in the last two
decades. Collectively, the evidence suggests that multi-component behaviour
changing interventions may be beneficial in achieving small reductions in body
weight status in children of all ages, with low adverse event occurrence were
reported. More research is required to understand which specific intervention
components are most effective and in whom, and how best to maintain intervention 
effects. Evidence from surgical and drug interventions was too limited to make
inferences about use and safety, and adverse events were a serious consideration.