Clinical Assessment and Treatment of Early-Onset Severe Obesity

Sarah Raatz, Amy C. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: This review describes clinical management of early-onset severe obesity, defined here as severe obesity in children ≤ 5 years old. It summarizes current information regarding (1) assessment, specifically growth, genetics, cardiometabolic risk, health behaviors, developmental considerations, and psychosocial factors, and (2) treatment, focusing on lifestyle modification including parent training and a brief summary of pharmacotherapy. Recent Findings: Prevalence of severe obesity in young children has remained stable yet most of these children will become adults with obesity. Interventions that address multiple health domains, such as eating habits, physical activity, and parenting skills, are necessary for addressing early-onset severe obesity. Research into pharmacotherapy remains limited but may provide future strategies for management. Summary: Early-onset severe obesity significantly influences children’s long-term health and management should focus on intervention to promote BMI reduction. Further research into effective strategies is necessary to address the needs of this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent obesity reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Assessment and treatment
  • Early-onset obesity
  • Preschool
  • Severe obesity
  • Toddler

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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