Is Guided Self-Help Effective in Treating Childhood Obesity?

It is known that family-based treatment that combines nutrition and exercise education, along with behavior modification, is a good approach to help children lose weight. But clinic-based weight-control programs for childhood obesity are not accessible to many families, due to issues such as cost or time commitment.

Initial studies at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine indicate that a self-help treatment program for overweight children and their parents, guided by clinical experts, may be an effective solution. The study, led by Kerri Boutelle, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine — the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of such a program — will be published in the journal Pediatrics on April 1.

Boutelle and colleagues enrolled 50 overweight or obese children between the ages of 8 and 12 and their family members in a low-intensity, 5-month long treatment for childhood obesity, measuring the effects on a child’s weight (measured as body mass index or BMI) immediately post-treatment and six months later. The researchers also evaluated whether the intervention promoted improvements in eating behavior and physical activity among children and parents. The results of the guided, self-help intervention program showed a significant decrease in BMI immediately after completing the 5-month treatment, losses that were maintained six months later.

Full story of self-help for obesity at Science Daily

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