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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998 Dec;22(12):1217-24.

Role of behaviour modification in the treatment of childhood obesity with the parents as the exclusive agents of change.

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Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.



This study examined the reduction in overweight and changes in eating-related behaviours in obese children treated with a family-based approach, in which the parents were the exclusive agents of change. Results were compared to the conventional approach in which children are responsible for their own weight loss.


A one-year longitudinal prospective design was used. Participants were randomly allocated for the experimental (parents as the agents of change) or the conventional (children as the agents of change) intervention.


Sixty obese children (20% over ideal weight for age, height and gender) aged 6-11 y (mean+/-s.d. 9.2+/-1.0 y) were included in the study. Anthropometric measurements and biochemical tests were performed on the children and their parents before and after the programme, and both parents completed a sociodemographic and a family eating and activity habits questionnaire. Hour-long support/educational sessions were conducted by a clinical dietitian-14 sessions for the parents in the experimental intervention and 30 for the children in the conventional intervention. Individual sessions were held for members of both groups, when necessary.


Significant differences were found between the two groups in the reduction of exposure to food stimuli and changes in eating habits (eating while standing, watching TV, reading or doing homework, eating following stress and eating between meals). Mean weight reduction (by percentile) was significantly greater in the experimental intervention group (parent-only treatment) in comparison to the conventional intervention group (child-only treatment).


Treatment of childhood obesity with the parents as the exclusive agents of change, induces more behavioural changes as well as greater weight loss, than the conventional approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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