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Clin Obes. 2016 Apr;6(2):143-53. doi: 10.1111/cob.12138. Epub 2016 Jan 27.

Satisfaction and attrition in paediatric weight management.

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Department of Pediatrics, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.
Brenner FIT (Families In Training) Program, Brenner Children's Hospital, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.
Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.
Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.


Paediatric obesity treatment experiences unacceptably high rates of attrition. Few studies have explored parent and child perspectives on dropout. This study sought to capture child and parent experience in treatment and expressed contributors to attrition. Children and parents enrolled in a single family-based weight management programme participated in semi-structured interviews, conducted either upon completion of the first intensive phase of treatment or program dropout. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded using a multistage inductive approach. Interviews were obtained from 57 parents and 30 children, nearly equal between 'completers' or 'dropouts'. Five themes emerged: overall positive experience with programme; logistical challenges of participation; improved health; discrepancies between child and parent experience and perception, and importance of structure and expectations of weight loss. Primary reasons given for dropout were time commitment; distance from clinic; missed school and work; lack of dedicated adolescent programme; clinic hours; and stress. Few parents or children expressed dissatisfaction. Children reportedly enjoyed 'having someone to talk to' about weight, and spending increased time with family. Children and parents overall reported positive experiences in this weight management programme. Attrition appears more related to logistical issues than low satisfaction. Innovative approaches to help overcome logistical challenges and preserve positive aspects may help in decreasing programme attrition.


Attrition; obesity; satisfaction; treatment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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