Abstract

BACKGROUND: Research has shown children disproportionately gain excess weight over the summer months (vs. school months), with stronger effects for children with obesity. However, the question has not been investigated among children receiving care in paediatric weight management (PWM) programs. OBJECTIVE: To test for seasonal variability in weight change among youth with obesity in PWM care enrolled in the Pediatric Obesity Weight Evaluation Registry (POWER). METHOD: Longitudinal evaluation of a prospective cohort from 2014 to 2019 among youth in 31 PWM programs. Change in percentage of the 95th percentile for BMI (%BMIp95) was compared by quarter. RESULTS: Participants (N = 6816) were primarily ages 6-11 (48%), female (54%), 40% non-Hispanic White, 26% Hispanic and 17% Black, and 73% had severe obesity. Children were enrolled on average 424.9 ± 401.5 days. Participants reduced their %BMIp95 every season, but compared with Quarter 3 (July-September), reductions were significantly greater in Q1 (Jan-March, b = -0.27, 95%CI -0.46, -0.09), Q2 (April-June, b = -0.21, CI -0.40, -0.03), and Q4 (October-December, b = -0.44, CI -0.63, -0.26). CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: Across 31 clinics nationwide, children reduced their %BMIp95 every season, but reductions were significantly smaller during the summer quarter. While PWM successfully mitigated excess weight gain during every period, summer remains a high-priority time.

DOI 10.1111/IJPO.13012