Thursday, May 21, 2015

Registered Dietitians Improve Childhood Obesity BMI Outcomes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents living in the United States. This percentage has tripled since just one generation ago. With all of the awareness and focus placed on Americans’ ever increasing rates of obesity it’s baffling to see that these numbers have yet to decrease.

A type of intervention that has been shown to work with obese children and adolescents are comprehensive weight management interventions. These include several components namely nutrition, physical activity and behavior modification strategies. One recent study examined two groups of children and adolescents in these programs with one group having a portion controlled diet and the other having a reduced glycemic load diet. Both groups were required to have at least one visit with a Registered Dietitian (RD), although some participants had more than just one visit.

The results from this study showed that the differences in diet between the two groups did not lead to any differences in their BMIs. However, what did make a difference for the participants was the number of visits that they had with a Registered Dietitian. With every additional visit with the RD the child’s odds of success increased by 28%. Furthermore, the probability of success was more than 78% with greater than 1 visit with a Registered Dietitian per month compared to 43% success rate in children who had minimal exposure to a Registered Dietitian.

Overall, this study showed that more frequent visits to see a Registered Dietitian improved BMI outcomes in obese children and adolescents regardless of the kind of dietary intervention they were on. Registered Dietitians are uniquely qualified to help combat these ever increasing rates of childhood obesity. If you or your child are struggling with obesity, get the help and support that an RD can provide today. You don’t have to do it alone, in fact you get better results with some help!

~Stefanie Rivera MS, RD, LD/N

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Childhood Overweight and Obesity. Accessed on 5/15/15. Available at:

Kirk Shelley, Woo Jessica G., Jones Margaret N., and Siegel Robert M.. Childhood Obesity. April 2015, 11(2): 202-208. doi:10.1089/chi.2014.0079.