IHBLT is an evidence-based approach that is part of comprehensive obesity treatment and is recommended in the AAP CPG for children aged 6 and older (Grade B evidence) and 2-5 years of age (Grade C) with overweight or obesity. 

IHBLT educates and supports families in nutrition and physical activity changes that improve weight status and comorbidities and promote long-term health. IHBLT is most often effective when it occurs face-to-face, engages the whole family, and delivers at least 26 hours of nutrition, physical activity, and behavior change lessons over 3 to 12 months. IHBLT is foundational to comprehensive obesity treatment (COT) and should continue longitudinally. It should be provided in conjunction with pharmacotherapy and metabolic and bariatric surgery, if these treatments are indicated. IHBLT may be available in the form of a defined program and may be offered in pediatrician and other PHCP offices, medical centers or health systems, or in partnership with community organizations.

Consistent with other recommendations: IHBLT aligns to intensive behavioral interventions highlighted in the 2017 USPTF recommendation (grade B evidence) with  two exceptions. One minor difference is that the AAP CPG states the most effective duration is 3-12 months, rather than 2-12 months. In addition, the AAP CPG overtly addresses children under age 6 by stating that children age 2-5 may be engaged in IHBLT (grade C)). 

Understanding terminology: These evidence-based intensive behavioral interventions are also sometimes called family healthy weight programs or pediatric weight management programs. The key is that These treatment programs align to the key components from CPG and USPSTF recs (≥ 26 hours, multicomponent, longitudinal, family-based).

What evidence-based IHBLT programs exist? There is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are already several existing IHBLT programs with a strong evidence base that can be implemented in primary care, community settings or as a hybrid approach. To help pediatric providers and communities interested in implementing IHBLT we are providing this virtual bookshelf/directory of such programs. This list is provided using the inclusion criteria linked here. These programs are not endorsed by the Academy or the Institute and are simply provided for you to explore and learn more.

For a comprehensive list of programs included in our IHBLT search, click here.For a complete list of CDC-approved Family Healthy Weight Programs, click here. Most multidisciplinary treatment centers also offer treatment that aligns to IHBLT criteria. For a current list click here.

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American Academy of Pediatrics