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

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2007

Moria Golan*
Affiliation:
School of Nutritional Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel Shahaf, Community Comprehensive Services for Eating Disorders, Israel
Vered Kaufman
Affiliation:
School of Nutritional Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel
Danit R. Shahar
Affiliation:
School of Nutritional Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel The S. Daniel Abraham International Center for Health and Nutrition, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
*
*Corresponding author: Dr Moria Golan, fax +972 8 934 8953, emailmoriag@netvision.net.il
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Abstract

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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 omittingthe 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.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2006

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