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Which factors predict unsuccessful outcome in a weight management intervention for obese children?

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Background:  Many obese children attending weight management interventions experience positive changes; however, not all are successful and little is known about what factors influence treatment outcome. The present study aimed to assess which baseline characteristics may predict unsuccessful treatment outcome in a weight management intervention for obese children.

Methods:  WATCH IT is a community weight management intervention for obese children and their families. Data collected during the pilot phase were visited retrospectively and secondary analysis was performed on the dataset. Inclusion criterion prioritised independent variables for the statistical model aiming to detect those that were exerting a significant effect. Logistic regression was used to assess the ability of these independent variables to predict unsuccessful treatment outcome.

Results:  Seventy‐eight children (mean age 11.9 years) who attended the WATCH IT weight management intervention for at least 6 months were included in the analysis. Multivariable regression analysis showed that children from families where both parents reported having a weight problem were six times more likely to be unsuccessful compared to children from families where neither parent reported weight problems (odds ratio = 6.1; 95% confidence interval = 1.2–32.0; P = 0.032). Age, gender, severity of obesity and duration of previous weight management attempts were not predictive of treatment outcome.

Conclusions:  To increase the overall success rate of children’s weight management interventions such as WATCH IT, current approaches to behaviour change may need to be adapted or tailored for those families who are less likely to be successful. Supporting overweight parents to make their own successful lifestyle changes may be one way of improving the child’s likelihood of weight management success.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: NHS Airedale, Bradford & Leeds, Bradford, UK 2: Nutrition and Dietetic Group, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK 3: Paediatric Epidemiology Group, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Leeds University, Leeds, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2012


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