Hypothalamic obesity after treatment for craniopharyngioma: The importance of the home environment

Ruud W.H. Meijneke, Antoinette Y.N. Schouten-Van Meeteren, Nienke Y. De Boer, Suzanne Van Zundert, Paul A.S. Van Trotsenburg, Femke Stoelinga, Hanneke M. Van Santen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Hypothalamic obesity after treatment for craniopharyngioma is a well-recognized, severe problem. Treatment of hypothalamic obesity is difficult and often frustrating for the patient, the parents and the professional care-giver. Because hypothalamic obesity is caused by an underlying medical disorder, it is often assumed that regular diet and exercise are not beneficial to reduce the extraordinarily high body mass index, and in fact, lifestyle interventions have been shown to be insufficient in case of extreme hypothalamic obesity. Nevertheless, it is important to realize that also in this situation, informal care delivered by the family and appropriate parenting styles are required to minimize the obesity problem. We present a case in which weight gain in the home situation was considered unstoppable, and a very early mortality due to complications of the severe increasing obesity was considered inevitable. A permissive approach toward food intake became leading with rapid weight increase since a restrictive lifestyle was considered a senseless burden for the child. By admission to our hospital for a longer period of time, weight reduction was realized, and the merely permissive approach could be changed into active purposeful care by adequate information, instruction, guidance and encouragement of the affected child and her parents. This case illustrates that, although this type of obesity has a pathological origin, parental and environmental influences remain of extreme importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-63
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • diet
  • home environment
  • hypothalamic obesity


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