How to best help your child lose weight: Lose weight yourself

A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and The University of Minnesota indicates that a parent's weight change is a key contributor to the success of a child's weight loss in family-based treatment of childhood obesity. The results were published today in the advanced online edition of the journal Obesity.

"We looked at things such as and styles, or changing the home food environment, and how they impacted a child's weight," said Kerri N. Boutelle, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at UC San Diego and Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego. "The number one way in which parents can help an obese child lose weight? Lose weight themselves. In this study, it was the most important predictor of child weight loss."

Recent data suggests that 31 percent of children in the United States are overweight or obese, or between four and five million children. Current treatment programs generally require participation by both parents and children in a plan that combines and exercise with techniques.

"Parents are the most significant people in a child's environment, serving as the first and most important teachers," said Boutelle "They play a significant role in any weight-loss program for children, and this study confirms the importance of their example in establishing healthy eating and exercise behaviors for their kids."

The researchers looked at eighty parent-child groups with an 8 to 12-year-old overweight or obese child, who participated in a parent-only or parent + child treatment program for five months.

The study focused on evaluating the impact of three types of parenting skills taught in family-based behavioral treatment for , and the impact of each on the child's body weight: the parent modeling behaviors to promote their own weight loss, changes in home , and and techniques (for example, a parent's ability to help limit the child's eating behavior, encouraging the child and participating in program activities).

Consistent with previously published research, parent BMI change was the only significant predictor of child's weight loss.

The researchers concluded that clinicians should focus on encouraging parents to lose weight to help their overweight or obese child in weight management.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Parents' depression can weigh on children

Aug 07, 2007

A parent’s struggle with stress or depression can lower a child’s quality of life -- and it could hinder an overweight youngster’s attempts to lose weight, too, University of Florida researchers say.

Recommended for you

Uruguay begins registering marijuana growers

5 minutes ago

Just a handful of people had registered by midday Wednesday to be private growers of marijuana in Uruguay, the first country to fully legalize the production, sale and distribution of the drug.

Tracking spending among the commercially insured

10 hours ago

Recent growth in health care spending for commercially insured individuals is due primarily to increases in prices for medical services, rather than increased use, according to a new study led by researchers at The Dartmouth ...

Taking aim at added sugars to improve Americans' health

14 hours ago

Now that health advocates' campaigns against trans-fats have largely succeeded in sidelining the use of the additive, they're taking aim at sugar for its potential contributions to Americans' health conditions. But scientists ...

User comments