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Ann Hum Biol. 2011 Jul;38(4):445-52. doi: 10.3109/03014460.2011.590531. Epub 2011 Jun 17.

A whole family approach to childhood obesity management (GOALS): relationship between adult and child BMI change.

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Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK.



A growing body of evidence advocates a multidisciplinary, family-focused approach to childhood obesity management, but there is a need to explore familial factors associated with intervention success.


This study explored the relationship between adult BMI change and child BMI SDS change following completion of a community-based, lifestyle change intervention for obese children and families (Getting Our Active Lifestyles Started (GOALS)).


Sixty of 121 families with overweight children completed the GOALS intervention between September 2006 and March 2009.Complete pre- and post-intervention (6 months) BMI data was available for 47 of these families, 26 of whom attended 12-month follow-up. Child BMI was converted to age- and sex-specific standard deviation scores (SDS) using the 1990 UK growth references.


There was a strong correlation between adult BMI change and child BMI SDS change from pre- to post-intervention (r = 0.53, p < 0.001) and from pre-intervention to 12-month follow up (r = 0.72, p < 0.001). Over both time periods, children with adults who reduced BMI were more likely to reduce BMI SDS (p < 0.01) and showed a greater reduction in BMI SDS (p < 0.01) than children with adults who maintained or increased BMI.


The results showed a strong positive association between adult BMI change and child BMI SDS change, particularly during the post-intervention period where therapeutic contact was minimal. The findings suggest active involvement of adult family members in the weight loss process improves child treatment outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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