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Acta Paediatr. 1997 Apr;86(4):397-402.

Follow-up results of different treatment programs for obese children.

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Department of Developmental and Personality Psychology, University of Ghent, Belgium.



Many approaches have been tried in order to tackle the problem of obesity in children, but most of them have failed to achieve long-term weight loss. Cognitive behaviour therapy tends to predict good prospects. So far, no studies have investigated the surplus value of introducing a "healthy-eating" lifestyle program instead of a strict diet prescription, in combination with the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy. Therefore, a new program was designed. The second aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of different forms of therapeutic contact.


The obese group consisted of 205 children seeking treatment, and a control group of 54 obese school children. The effects of the program were evaluated by means of a pre-test/post-test design with a 1-y follow-up. Subjects were assigned to different therapeutic conditions: group therapy, individual therapy, summer camp or "advice in one session".


A progressive and significant loss of weight for all therapeutic conditions was noticeable. The reduction continued at least 6 months after completing therapy. The control group, however, showed weight evolution in the opposite sense.


A replication of the positive effect of CBT was found in a broad sample of clinically obese children, even without strict diet prescription. Our hypothesis that group approach will result in a better outcome is borne out.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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