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Secondary prevention of overweight in primary school children: what place for general practice?

Melissa A Wake and Zoë McCallum
Med J Aust 2004; 181 (2): 82-84.

Summary

  • At least a quarter of primary school children in Australia are overweight or obese; the long-term impacts are likely to include chronic morbidity and loss of life-years.

  • Universal preventive strategies have so far had limited effectiveness, while secondary and tertiary referral services would be overwhelmed if they attempted to systematically manage a problem with such high prevalence.

  • Primary care services could play an important role in secondary prevention of overweight and mild obesity in children.

  • While reports of child obesity research have burgeoned since 1995, effectiveness trials of primary care interventions in primary-school-aged children have been neglected.

  • Randomised controlled trials of a primary care approach, although challenging, are essential to determine whether it does more good than harm.

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  • Melissa A Wake1
  • Zoë McCallum2

  • Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC.

Correspondence: 

Acknowledgements: 

M A W and Z M are principal investigators on the LEAP (Live, Eat and Play) randomised controlled trial (ISRCTN 45068927), funded by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council. Z M is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Postgraduate Research Scholarship.

Competing interests:

None identified.

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