Parent-Support Early Childhood Obesity Intervention Beneficial

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

No between-group difference seen in BMI-standard deviation score, but significant difference seen in reduction of BMI-SDS ≥0.5

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 18, 2023 (HealthDay News) — An intensive early childhood obesity intervention supporting parents leads to improvement in weight status outcomes over time, according to a study published online Sept. 18 in the International Journal of Obesity.

Anna Ek, Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues examined weight status 48 months after obesity treatment initiation for 4- to 6-year-olds from 177 families recruited to the More and Less study 12-month randomized controlled trial. Overall, 171 families were eligible for 48-month follow-up; 114 had 48-month data. Three treatment approaches were compared: a 10-week parent-support program with follow-up booster sessions (PGB) or without (PGNB) and standard outpatient treatment (ST).

The researchers found that after 48 months, the mean body mass index standard deviation score (BMI-SDS) was reduced in all groups: −0.45, −0.34, and −0.25 for PGB, PGNB, and ST, respectively, with no significant between-group differences noted. A clinically significant reduction of ≥0.5 of BMI-SDS occurred in 53.7 and 33.0 percent of the PGB and ST groups, respectively (risk ratio, 2.03); no significant difference was seen between ST and PGNB (46.6 percent). The percentage above the International Obesity Task Force overweight cutoff was unchanged from baseline for PGB and significantly lower for PGB versus ST.

“The children in all three groups improved their weight status and saw a reduction in their degree of obesity,” principal author Paulina Nowicka, Ph.D., also from the Karolinska Institutet, said in a statement. “The children whose parents received parental support had the best results, especially those who also received follow-up phone calls.”

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