With childhood obesity skyrocketing to epidemic levels, parents need to find the best ways to keep their kids at a healthy weight. It's gotten so bad that parents are even consenting to gastric bypass surgery for their kids before they are even eligible to vote.

Fad diets aren’t good for anyone, but children especially since their bodies and minds are in the developing stages. But everyone reacts differently to different foods, so it’s a good idea to consider what approach gives a child the best chance of long-term success.

So, a new study examined 85 obese kids between the ages of seven and 12 to see how they reacted to three different diets. They each went on an assigned diet for a year. In addition, each child had weekly dietary counseling and biweekly exercise sessions for the first three months. After that, they were self-directed for the remaining nine months.

The diets were as follows:

- A low-carb diet, similar to Atkins, focusing on high-protein foods and minimizing carbohydrate consumption.

- A low glycemic index diet which is an approach that focuses on foods that are less likely to make blood-sugar levels fluctuate.

- Portion control diet that kept calorie intake at about 55 to 60 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat, and 10 to 15 percent protein. 

Researchers found that most participants lost weight, lowered their body mass index (BMI) and their body fat percentage. Those on the low-glycemic diet had the easiest time following the program while those on the low-carb diet had the most difficulty.

Putting your child on a diet is a delicate matter and is something you should discuss with your child’s doctor first.

"Ask your pediatrician about local reputable programs and look on Eatright.org to find a registered dietitian serving your area," said Cathleen Davis, a clinical dietitian and nutritionist who works with children at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in Babylon, New York. "Make tiny changes and expect bad days - absolutely no one eats perfectly 100 percent of the time. And be very careful of programs that push supplements, make any type of claim for immediate success and don't have licensed credentials."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 percent of all children in the U.S. are obese. Keep in mind that obesity is the next step beyond overweight. Childhood obesity carries with a slew of health repercussions, some of which last for the rest of their lives.

Author's Bio: 

Jason Knapfel is Content Manager at Webfor, an Internet marketing company. One of their clients is DoctorsofWeightLoss.com, a website filled with expert information on health and a focus on gastric bypass surgery, including newer procedures such as gastric plication.