Childhood obesity treatment: Targeting parents exclusively v. parents and children

Moria Golan, Vered Kaufman, Danit R. Shahar

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    267 Scopus citations


    There is a consensus that interventions to prevent and treat childhood obesity should involve the family; however, the extent of the child's involvement has received little attention. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the relative efficacy of treating childhood obesity via a family-based health-centred intervention, targeting parents alone v. parents and obese children together. Thirty-two families with obese children of 6-11 years of age were randomised into groups, in which participants were provided for 6 months a comprehensive educational and behavioural programme for a healthy lifestyle. These groups differed in their main agent of change: parents-only v. the parents and the obese child. In both groups, parents were encouraged to foster authoritative parenting styles (parents are both firm and supportive; assume a leadership role in the environmental change with appropriate granting of child's autonomy). Only the intervention aimed at parents-only resulted in a significant reduction in the percentage overweight at the end of the programme (P=0.02) as well as at the 1-year follow-up meeting. The differences between groups at both times were significant (P<0.05). A greater reduction in food stimuli in the home (P<0.05) was noted in the parents-only group. In both groups, the parents' weight status did not change. Regression analysis shows that the level of attendance in sessions explained 28% of the variability in the children's weight status change, the treatment group explained another 10%, and the improvement in the obesogenic load explained 11% of the variability. These results suggest that omitting the obese child from active participation in the health-centred programme may be beneficial for weight loss and for the promotion of a healthy lifestyle among obese children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1008-1015
    Number of pages8
    JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 1 May 2006


    • Childhood obesity
    • Family-based interventions
    • Parents-only interventions

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine (miscellaneous)
    • Nutrition and Dietetics


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