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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Feb;18 Suppl 1:S62-8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.433.

Randomized controlled trial of the MEND program: a family-based community intervention for childhood obesity.

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MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Centre, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it (MEND) Program, a multicomponent community-based childhood obesity intervention ( One hundred and sixteen obese children (BMI >or= 98 th percentile, UK 1990 reference data) were randomly assigned to intervention or waiting list control (6-month delayed intervention). Parents and children attended eighteen 2-h group educational and physical activity sessions held twice weekly in sports centers and schools, followed by a 12-week free family swimming pass. Waist circumference, BMI, body composition, physical activity level, sedentary activities, cardiovascular fitness, and self-esteem were assessed at baseline and at 6 months. Children were followed up 12 months from baseline (0 and 6 months postintervention for the control and intervention group, respectively). Participants in the intervention group had a reduced waist circumference z-score (-0.37; P < 0.0001) and BMI z-score (-0.24; P < 0.0001) at 6 months when compared to the controls. Significant between-group differences were also observed in cardiovascular fitness, physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and self-esteem. Mean attendance for the MEND Program was 86%. At 12 months, children in the intervention group had reduced their waist and BMI z-scores by 0.47 (P < 0.0001) and 0.23 (P < 0.0001), respectively, and benefits in cardiovascular fitness, physical activity levels, and self-esteem were sustained. High-attendance rates suggest that families found this intensive community-based intervention acceptable. Further larger controlled trials are currently underway to confirm the promising findings of this initial trial.

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