Study finds parent-based obesity treatment without their children could be used to tackle childhood obesity

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Childhood obesity is connected with negative health outcomes and family-based obesity treatment provided to both children and parents is considered to be effective. But the questions is: do children need to come for childhood obesity treatment with parents for it to be effective?

A new article published by JAMA Pediatrics examined whether parent-based treatment (PBT) without their children could be as effective as the family-based weight loss treatment (FBT) that is provided to parents and children.

A randomized clinical trial was conducted at the University of California, San Diego. Participants included 150 overweight and obese children in the age group of 8-12 years and their parents. Kerri N. Boutelle, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego, and co-authors calculated the weight loss of the child over 24 months and other outcomes, including weight loss of the parent, dietary consumption of the child and parent, physical activity of the child and parent, and style of parenting.

Recommendations for nutrition and physical activity, parenting skills and strategies to modify behavior were included in both FBT and PBT. The only difference was the attendance of the child in 20 group meetings and behavioral coaching sessions over 6 months.

According to the results, PBT was as effective on the weight loss of the child, as children in both PBT and FBT experienced reduction in body mass index (BMI) z scores by the end of the treatment. The weight loss in the children after six months was -0.25 BMI z score in both PBT and FBT, which was largely sustained throughout the 18-month assessment follow-up.

PBT also was as effective on child and parent dietary consumption and physical activity. The article reported that while PBT was similarly effective as FBT on the weight outcomes in the parent at the 6-month follow-up, parents gained more weight in PBT over time. Both FBT and PBT interventions affected parenting style and feeding behavior in the same way, signifying that the attendance of the child at treatment is not necessary to achieve similar results.

Although the non-inclusion of a placebo control intervention was one of the limitations of the study, the articled concluded: "This study provides sound empirical evidence supporting a PBT model for the delivery of childhood obesity treatment. Given the high rates of obesity in children, PBT is a model that could be used to provide treatment to a greater proportion of the population."



  1. Thelma Thiel Thelma Thiel United States says:

    The Missing Link in dealing with obesity is educating children in schools about WHY and HOW to protect their miraculous life sustaining liver. Unfortunately, most teachers are uninformed themselves as well as parents.. contributing to the development of liver related illnesses including obesity, fatty liver, diabetes, high cholesterol and drug and alcohol misuse and abuse.. . that are preventable.

    Food is the fuel their liver needs to perform mini chemical miracles converting it into hundreds of essential life supporting body functions 24/7.

    Excess carbs, sugar and fats can clog up the process causing the liver to slow down and eventually shut down. This happens without warning as the liver is a non complaining organ. A protruding belly or derriere is a warning that your liver is struggling to handle what you are feeding it and dumping the excess fats throughout your body,

    The choice is yours. Learn TODAY about why it is critical that you and your children change their unhealthy dietary habits now before the damage is beyond repair.

    Prevention is free. There is NO treatment for fatty liver at the present time. Changing your diet can prevent it in the first place.

    Thelma King Thiel Chair Liver Health Initiative.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
You might also like...
Underutilized obesity treatments could transform patient health