7 steps to successful weight loss in children: The CORE Tool



weighing-scale-with-fruitIn 2007, American researchers came up with recommendations to fight childhood obesity and they consisted of 4 steps based on “the principle of least intervention.” This year, a group of scientists from the Center of Obesity Research and Education (CORE) proposed that the previous recommendations be expanded to 7 steps in order to achieve more significant improvement.

The new model also proceeds stepwise, each step is more intensive and drastic than the previous one.

The so-called Seven Steps to Success are

  1. Medical Management. Seeing your child’s pediatrician regularly will help provide you with feedback about progress and regular evaluations for potential health problems caused by excess weight (e.g., high blood pressure, liver problems, diabetes).
  2. Education. Knowledge of the best ways to eat, stay active, and solve problems relating to weight is necessary for successful weight control.
  3. Environmental Changes. Making changes in the environment in which your family lives can help (e.g., taking televisions and computers out of bedrooms, eliminating all high-fat food in the house).
  4. Support Groups.
  5. Cognitive–Behavior Therapy (CBT) I: Clinics or Short-Term Immersion. CBT is a scientifically based approach to helping people improve their motivation, goal-setting, and focusing skills. Professionally conducted CBT programs for overweight children are available (check local hospitals, clinics). Immersion programs focus on CBT full time, for example for 4 weeks in the summer.
  6. CBT II: Long-term Immersion. Longer, more intensive, immersion programs are available in therapeutic boarding schools and clinics.
  7. Bariatric Surgery +. For some seriously overweight teenagers who have tried the first six steps, specialized surgeries (bariatric surgeries like the gastric bypass) performed in surgical centers that have experience and understanding of this problem are important options.

It is important to know that the model is based on one important assumption – that obesity among children is a family affair. For it to work, the participation and commitment of all family members is essential.

Another review study published earlier this year suggests that family-based lifestyle interventions that include diet modifications, physical exercise and behavior therapy programs were effective in helping overweight children to lose weight. Furthermore, this loss weight was could be sustained for 6 months in young children and up to one year in adolescents.

The CORE tool also recommended several organizations active in the fight against obesity.

Organizations active in education on obesity and proper nutrition:

·        www.healthykids.ca

·        www.cspinet.org

·        www.calorieking.com

Support groups:

·        Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS)

·        Weight Watchers

Clinics for CBT:

·        www.wellspringcamps.com

·        www.camplajolla.com

·        www.zeepreventorium.be

Clinics experienced in bariatric surgery:

·        www.fitprogram.ucla.edu

·        www.cincinnatichildrens.org

You can also download the full CORE tool at

Seven Steps to Success: A Handout for Parents of Overweight Children and Adolescents

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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