42. Behavioral Health and Childhood Obesity

  1. David I. Mostofsky
  1. Shawn A. Lawrence and
  2. Eileen Mazur Abel

Published Online: 28 MAR 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118453940.ch42

The Handbook of Behavioral Medicine

The Handbook of Behavioral Medicine

How to Cite

Lawrence, S. A. and Abel, E. M. (2014) Behavioral Health and Childhood Obesity, in The Handbook of Behavioral Medicine (ed D. I. Mostofsky), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118453940.ch42

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 MAR 2014
  2. Published Print: 11 APR 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118453995

Online ISBN: 9781118453940



  • childhood;
  • obesity;
  • social work;
  • mental health;
  • stigma;
  • interventions


Obesity has become far and away the most prevalent chronic childhood issue of the modern era. Despite the fact that high-risk behaviors and lifestyle choices have a clear impact on client morbidity, behavioral health interventions, including therapy and counseling, have played a minor role in the response from the medical community. This chapter provides background information about the incidence and prevalence of obesity and childhood obesity and offers an overview of the current social work approaches for preventing and treating obesity as a systemic issue. Treatments for obese children and youth and information about the roles for social work on all three levels, including evidence-based practices (EBPs) based on scientific research, are highlighted in light of their effectiveness for treating and preventing childhood obesity. The implications for future social work practice and research are also discussed.