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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2010, Article ID 789280, 12 pages
Review Article

Maintenance of Weight Loss in Adolescents: Current Status and Future Directions

1Department of Psychology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
3Center for Health Research, Geisinger Health Systems, Danville, PA 17822, USA
4Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 3440 Market Street, Suite 410, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
5Anguilla Community College, George Hill British West Indies, PA 19104, USA

Received 28 July 2010; Revised 20 October 2010; Accepted 14 November 2010

Academic Editor: Marion M. Hetherington

Copyright © 2010 Meghan L. Butryn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is a dearth of research on the long-term efficacy and safety of treatments for adolescent obesity. This narrative review examined several approaches to treatment, focusing on long-term effectiveness data in adolescents, as well as relevant findings from studies of adults. The available research suggests that lifestyle modification has promise in obese adolescents, although it is not clear that any particular dietary or physical activity approach is more effective than another. Meal replacements are quite effective in adults and deserve further research in adolescents. Extending the length of treatment to teach weight loss maintenance skills is likely to improve long-term outcomes in adolescents, and delivering treatment via the Internet or telephone is a novel way of doing so. Treatment that combines lifestyle modification with the medication orlistat generally appears to be safe but only marginally superior to lifestyle modification alone. More research is needed on the management of adolescent obesity, which has been overlooked when compared with research on the treatment of obesity in children and adults.