U.S. children and teens who are obese are more likely to lose weight through early obesity screening programs and intensive behavioral treatment programs, according to new federal recommendations.

The statement – from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an advisory panel of physicians – recommends placing obese children on a carefully controlled weight-loss regimen that includes a strict diet, rigorous activity and behavioral counseling. The new guidelines are a departure from the task force’s conclusion five years ago that pediatric obesity programs offer few benefits.

The task force said that new studies of such a treatment plan have shown that it is effective. The task force reviewed 20 studies, most of which were published since 2005 and involved more than 1,000 children. However, such treatment is costly, difficult to find and hard to monitor.