Promotion of physical activity in primary care for obesity treatment/prevention in children

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Purpose of review

Physical activity has been highlighted internationally as a beneficial intervention for weight control and the improvement of physical and mental health. This review highlights findings from recent literature to guide office-based promotion of physical activity for obesity treatment and prevention.

Recent findings

Children worldwide participate in far less than the current physical activity recommendations. Family-based activity provides children with positive role modeling as well as motivational support for maintaining an active lifestyle. The integration of physical activity into daily life can be an effective alternative to sports and structured exercise programs. Decreasing sedentary behaviors is also a positive contribution, although its link to physical activity levels is still unclear. Some families may see neighborhood safety and access to recreational facilities as barriers to keeping their children physically active.


Research in the field of pediatric obesity and overweight treatment and prevention continues to find challenges and solutions. Promotion of physical activity by the pediatric provider is demonstrated by current evidence to be a positive intervention against this global problem.

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