Advanced Obesity Treatment Selection among Adolescents in a Pediatric Weight Management Program

Lilianna Suarez*, Asheley C. Skinner, Tracy Truong, Jessica R. McCann, John F. Rawls, Patrick C. Seed, Sarah C. Armstrong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Treatment options for adolescents with obesity are limited. Yet, therapies previously reserved for adults, such as medications and bariatric surgery, are increasingly available to adolescents in tertiary obesity treatment settings. We aimed to identify the factors associated with selecting an advanced obesity treatment (diets, medications, and surgery) beyond lifestyle therapy among adolescents presenting to a tertiary, pediatric weight management program. Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of adolescents (N = 220) who participated in a longitudinal, observational case-control study within a pediatric weight management program. The exposures were potential individual and clinical factors, including sociodemographic characteristics and comorbidities. The outcome was treatment selection, dichotomized into lifestyle vs. advanced treatment. We modeled associations between these factors and treatment selection using logistic regression, controlling for confounding variables (age, race/ethnicity, sex, and insurance). Results: The study population included a majority of non-Hispanic Black (50.5%) and Hispanic/Latino (19.5%) adolescents, of whom 25.5% selected advanced treatment. Adolescents were more likely to choose an advanced treatment option if they had a greater BMI [odds ratio (OR) 1.09, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.04-1.15], lived further from the clinic (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.00-1.05), and had an elevated glycohemoglobin level (OR 2.46, 95% CI 1.24-4.92). Conclusions: A significant fraction of adolescents seeking obesity treatment in a specialized care setting chose new and emerging obesity treatments, particularly those at high risk of developing diabetes. These findings can inform patient-clinician obesity treatment discussions in specialty care settings. Clinical Trial Registration number: NCT03139877.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • adolescents
  • bariatric surgery
  • drug treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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