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Childhood obesity: are new treatment centres the solution?

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 25 November 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2910
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

A quarter of England’s 10 and 11 year olds are now obese. As the government rolls out pilot clinics to treat those whose health is at risk, Elisabeth Mahase looks at what they will offer

The NHS in England has announced 15 new specialist clinics to provide intensive support for 1000 severely obese children and teenagers (aged 2 to 18 years) each year, as part of a pilot scheme.

The clinics will focus on helping young people who experience health complications related to severe obesity to lose weight through tailored care packages developed with their family. The care offered could include diet plans, mental health treatment, and coaching and be delivered by a multidisciplinary team of dietitians, psychologists, specialist nurses, social workers, youth workers, and paediatricians.

The NHS team behind the pilot scheme told The BMJ that although inspiration for the clinics had come from the only commissioned childhood obesity clinic in the country—the Bristol Care of Childhood Obesity Clinic—each clinic will be set up and designed by local commissioners with that area’s needs in mind.

The team is currently working with key stakeholders, including children and their families, clinicians, and social workers, to establish what success would look like and what outcomes the clinics should be striving to achieve.

Paucity of evidence

The evidence base for child weight management programmes is currently sparse, and part of …

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