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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1992 Nov;46(11):785-94.

Predictors of weight reduction in obese children.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Nutrition, University of Kuopio, Finland.


The characteristics of successful and unsuccessful weight losers were studied in 48 obese children (relative weight > 120%) aged 6-15 years who were treated for 1 year and observed for another. Successful weight loss was defined as a decrease in relative weight of > or = 0.8 in the standard deviation score (SDS) at the end of the study. Thirty-two children were treated intensively, 16 with individual counselling and 16 in group therapy, while the remaining 16 children were treated conventionally in a school health care setting. Three children dropped out of the study. In 2 years, the relative body weight decreased by 1.7 SDS in those who were successful weight losers (n = 21, 47%), but remained unchanged in those who had been unsuccessful (n = 24). At baseline there were no differences between the two groups. At 1 year, the successful weight losers had lower body weight (P < 0.05), less lean body mass (0.05) and lower fasting concentrations of circulating insulin (P < 0.01) than the unsuccessful children did. A decrease in mothers' body mass index (BMI) and in documented energy intake over the first year as well as energy intake at 1 year were significant predictors of success at 2 years. The combination of these three predictors resulted in correct classification of about 3/4 of the cases as successful or unsuccessful weight losers. It appears, however, difficult to develop a clinically useful model for predicting the treatment outcome in obese children.

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