Aims To evaluate the effects of an outpatient multidisciplinary weight loss intervention in reducing body mass index (BMI) in children and adolescents suffering overweight and obesity, changes in A Body Shape Index (ABSI, waist circumference normalized to height and weight) and Hip Index (HI, normalized hip circumference) during treatment and correlation between the ABSI and HI with change in BMI z score.
Methods We analyze anthropometric data from pediatric patients affected by overweight and obesity aged 2 to 18 years old who entered our multidisciplinary weight loss intervention, which included medical, psychological and nutritional sessions, from January 1st 2006 to December 31st 2016. Lifestyle modification counselling was delivered. Follow-up visits were planned every month for 3 months and subsequently every 2±4 months. BMI, ABSI, and HI were converted to z scores using age and sex specific population normals.
Results 864 patients entered our intervention. 453 patients (208 males), mean age 11.2 ±3.1 years, 392 with obesity (86%, z-BMI 2.90 ±0.80 SD) and 61 patients with overweight (z-BMI 1.73±0.21 SD) attended at least 1 follow-up visit. The mean number of visits was 3.5 (± 1.8 SD) in overweight subjects and 3.9 (±2.2 SD) in ones with obesity. At the last attended follow- up visit (at 16 ± 12 months SD) we observed a reduction in mean z-BMI in patients with obesity (to 2.52 ±0.71 SD) and patients with overweight (to 1.46 ±0.5 SD). Most patients (80.8%) reduced their BMI z scores. Mean ABSI and HI z scores showed no significant change. 78/392 patients (19.8%) recovered from obese to overweight, 5/392 (1.2%) from obese to normal weight. The recovery rate from overweight to normal weight was 13.1%. Ina multivariate model, initial BMI z score and number of follow-up visits were significant predictors of weight change, while age, sex, ABSI, and HI were not significant predictors.
Conclusions Patients affected by overweight and obesity involved in a multidisciplinary weight loss intervention reduced their mean BMI z score, while ABSI and HI were stable. Weight loss was not predicted by initial ABSI or HI. More visits predict more weight loss, but dropout rates are high. The great majority of patients leave the weight management program before having normalized their BMI.