Treatments for Child Obesity and Depression
Obesity among children is defined as being the 95th percentile or higher for their age on standard growth charts for children. This excess weight may be fat weight, but it is not a certainty. Children and adolescents are still growing, and no one wants to hinder this process making treatment difficult. Plus, few treatments address both the depression and the issue of weight. A treatment that could help both causes is cognitive behavior therapy which is an effective treatment against depression, but it also encourages exercise and the reduction of sedentary behavior5. Exercise can help to maintain weight and sometimes to lose it6. Anti-depressants may also be prescribed to alleviate the depression, but there is debate if these are as effective for youth5.
Another approach would be to treat the two separately. A combination of therapy and anti-depressants could be used to treat the depression, while a behavioral intervention is used to treat obesity through exercise and dietary changes. As always, it is best to prevent obesity through exercise and a proper diet high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables but low in processed foods and red meat.
In conclusion, rates of obesity and depression among youth are surprisingly high and there appears to be a link between the two. It is speculative, but it appears that obesity precedes depression. Still, the evidence is not strong enough to verify this result. Treatment is also difficult, but cognitive behavior therapy is an effective treatment strategy especially if it is combined with anti-depressants and dietary changes.