Intervention for childhood obesity based on parents only or parents and child compared with follow-up alone

M. Yackobovitch-Gavan, D. Wolf Linhard, N. Nagelberg, I. Poraz, S. Shalitin, M. Phillip, J. Meyerovitch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The study aims to assess the effects of family-based interventions targeted to parents only or to parents-and-child for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. Method: An open-label randomized study was conducted in 247 children (166 girls, 5–11 years) with body mass index (BMI) in the 85–98th percentile. Participants were allocated to three groups: parents-only (n = 89), parents-and-child (n = 84) and follow-up alone (n = 74). The intervention consisted of 12 once-weekly meetings with a dietician and psychologist. All children were followed for 2 years. Changes in anthropometric, clinical and lifestyle outcomes were assessed. Results: The 3-month intervention was completed by 58 (65.2%) in the parents-only, 61 (72.6%) in the parents–child and 49 (66.2%) in the control group (P =.554). BMI-standard deviation score (SDS) decreased from baseline to 3 months in both intervention groups (parents-only: from 1.74 ± 0.31 to 1.66 ± 0.36, P <.001; parents–child, 1.83 ± 0.33 to 1.76 ± 0.36, P =.012), with no significant change in the controls (1.73 ± 0.32 to 1.70 ± 0.31, P =.301). The 2-year follow-up was completed by 45 in each of the intervention groups (50.5% and 53.5%, respectively) and 37 controls (50%) (P =.896). Compared with baseline, only the parents–child group showed a significant decrease in BMI-SDS (1.56 ± 0.46, P =.006). The rate of children who met the criteria for metabolic syndrome tended to drop from 6.0% at baseline (14/232) to 1.5% at 3 months (12/137) (P =.109), with no significant between-group differences in the rate of metabolic syndrome at baseline or at completion of the intervention. Conclusions: An intervention programme that focuses on both parents and children was found to have positive short-term and long-term effects on BMI-SDS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-655
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric obesity
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


FundersFunder number
Chief Physician Office
Clalit Research Institute


    • Childhood obesity
    • family-based intervention
    • lifestyle behaviours
    • metabolic syndrome


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