Physical Activity in Clinical Pediatric Weight Management Programs: Current Practices and Recommendations

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Physical activity (PA) is essential for youth weight management. FOCUS on a Fitter Future (FFF), a group of health care professionals from 25 children's hospitals, sponsored by the Children's Hospital Association, examined current care practices for overweight and obese youth with the goal of building consensus on outcome measurements and quality improvement for pediatric weight management programs (WMPs). WMPs completed a survey regarding PA practices, including testing, assessment and intervention. Consistency in general treatment practices was noted with variability in implementation. All programs included PA assessment and counseling. A majority of programs measured aerobic fitness, and more than half evaluated muscular fitness. Most offered group exercise sessions. Programs differed in availability of resources, assessment tools, interventions and outcome measures. Based on current practice and research, the FFF PA subgroup recommends key components for inclusion in a pediatric WMP: exercise testing, body composition assessment, PA and sedentary behaviors measures, individual exercise counseling, and group exercise programming.

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