Family-Based Intervention for Childhood Obesity Effective

Intervention can be implemented in primary care and improves weight outcomes for child, parents, and siblings
Family-Based Intervention for Childhood Obesity Effective
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TUESDAY, June 13, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Family-based treatment for childhood overweight and obesity can be successfully implemented in pediatric primary care settings and leads to improved weight outcomes over 24 months for children and parents, according to a study published in the June 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Leonard H. Epstein, Ph.D., from the University of Buffalo in New York, and colleagues evaluated the effects of family-based treatment for overweight or obesity delivered in the pediatric primary care setting on 452 children (ages 6 to 12 years), their parents, and 106 siblings. Child-parent dyads were randomly assigned to family-based treatment (226 dyads) or usual care (226 dyads). The intervention included a variety of behavioral techniques to encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and parenting behaviors within families in up to 26 sessions over 24 months.

The researchers found that at 24 months, children receiving family-based treatment had better weight outcomes than those receiving usual care based on the difference in change in percentage above median body mass index (−6.21 percent). Longitudinal growth models showed that children, parents, and siblings undergoing family-based treatment all had superior outcomes as early as six months and maintained through 24 months compared with usual care (zero- to 24-month changes in percentage above median body mass index for family-based treatment and usual care were 0.00 versus 6.48 percent for children; −1.05 versus 2.92 percent for parents; and 0.03 versus 5.35 percent for siblings).

"These findings suggest this treatment may offer a novel approach for families with two or more children with excess body weight," the authors write.

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