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An initial evaluation of a family‐based approach to weight management in adolescents attending a community weight management group

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Abstract:

Abstract

Background:  Family‐based approaches are recommended for the prevention and management of childhood obesity. Given the large numbers of obese children, scalable practical solutions are required. The present study evaluated a family‐based national programme that aimed to empower adolescents to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Methods:  Group facilitators supporting more than six young members (11–15 years) participated in the study. A questionnaire was designed to determine the characteristics of the adult attending with the adolescent, any health professional recommendations given and the young member’s integration within traditional adult weight management groups. Data on measured height and weight [and calculated body mass index (BMI)], sex and attendance were collated from member’s records.

Results:  Questionnaires were completed by 22 facilitators (15% response rate), representing data for 128 young members with complete weight data available for 106. All members had a joining BMI > 91st centile, with 68% >98th centile. The mean (SD) number of weeks attended was 12.5 (8.1), with 19% (20) having attended for more than 20 weeks with 62% still attending. A mean (SD) BMI Z‐score change of 2.49 (0.72) to 2.27 (0.74) was achieved (P <0.001). The relationship of the adult supporter to the young member was varied, with 62% either already members or joining alongside their daughter/son. Limited guidance was provided by health professionals before or during attendance. Facilitators were comfortable about the age mix within groups.

Conclusions:  The community weight management organisation studied takes a family‐based approach and successfully supports young members to manage their weight.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-277X.2012.01277.x

Affiliations: Nutrition and Research Team at Slimming World, Alfreton, Derbyshire, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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