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Time-Limited Eating in Pediatric Patients with Obesity-A Case Series

Author(s): Vidmar AP, Goran MI, Raymond JK

Background: Time Limited Eating (TLE) is an effective strategy for management of obesity in adults, but there is a paucity of data that have examined its use in the clinical management of children with obesity. A TLE approach involves interspersing normal daily caloric intake with periods of prolonged calorie restriction several times per week. TLE may actually be more feasible, non-stigmatizing, flexible and effective in children, especially for adolescents, compared to alternatives like daily caloric or macronutrient restriction. This is because TLE removes the need for intensive counting of daily calorie intake or macronutrient content and focuses on a straightforward task of consuming food during a pre-specified time period. Also it avoids periods of extended caloric restriction which may interfere with growth and/or risk evoking development of eating behaviors. This case series describes four patients who trialed a TLE approach in a clinical weight management clinic and describes BMI reduction at 4 months.

Case Presentation: To date, 4 patients, ages 5-15, with varying underlying pathologies (i.e. Bardet Biedl Syndrome (BBS), previously healthy, craniopharyngioma and epilepsy) have tried a TLE type approach (16-hour fast/8-hour feed for 3-5 days per week) for 4 months and have demonstrated an average decrease in their BMI z-score compared to baseline of -0.24 SD. Patients and their families reported high degrees of satisfaction with this dietary approach.

Conclusions: Families were very satisfied with the TLE intervention and reported it was feasible, flexible and sustainable to implement in a real life setting and associated with decreased zBMI. Further investigation is required to determine if this approach is effective in both the short and long term as a weight management technique.

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