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Targeting Parents Along With Overweight Kids Benefits Both

Last Updated: July 22, 2014.

Using a behavioral intervention to target preschool-aged overweight children and their parents is efficacious for both children and parents, according to a study published online July 21 in Pediatrics.

TUESDAY, July 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Using a behavioral intervention to target preschool-aged overweight children and their parents is efficacious for both children and parents, according to a study published online July 21 in Pediatrics.

Teresa Quattrin, M.D., from the University at Buffalo in New York, and colleagues tested the effect of a behavioral intervention that targeted an overweight child and parent versus an information control targeting weight control only in the child. A cohort of 96 2- to 5-year-old children with a body mass index (BMI) ≥85th percentile and an overweight parent were randomly allocated to the intervention (46 children) or information control (50 children). In both groups, children received diet and activity education over 12 months, and then 12 months of follow-up. In the intervention group, parents were also targeted for weight control and received a behavioral intervention.

The researchers found that, throughout treatment and follow-up, children in the intervention group experienced greater reductions in percent over BMI (P = 0.002) and z-BMI (P < 0.001) compared with controls. Over time, there was a greater reduction in BMI noted for parents in the intervention group versus the control group throughout treatment and follow-up (P < 0.001). At 12 and 24 months, there was a correlation between child weight changes and parent weight changes (r = 0.38 [P < 0.001] and 0.26 [P = 0.03], respectively).

"Concurrently targeting preschool-aged overweight and obese youth and their parents in primary care with behavioral intervention results in greater decreases in child percent over BMI, z-BMI, and parent BMI compared with information control," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Kurbo, which provides online support for pediatric weight control.

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