October 1993

Effect of Weight Loss by Obese Children on Long-term Growth

Author Affiliations

From the University of Pittsburgh (Pa) School of Medicine. Dr Epstein is now with the Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo.

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(10):1076-1080. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160340062015

• Objective.  —To assess height growth over 10 years in children treated for obesity.

Design.  —Longitudinal, prospective follow-up of a series of randomized, controlled weight control trials.

Setting.  —Specialized pediatric weight control clinic. Participants.—One hundred fifty-eight 6- to 12-year-old obese children who were followed up for 10 years after treatment.

Interventions.  —Family-based behavioral weight control.

Measurements/Main Results.  —At entry the height percentiles of the obese children were significantly higher (71.6 percentile) than same-sex parent (52.0 percentile) or midparent (51.5 percentile) height (an estimate of parental contribution to height). After an average growth of 22.7 cm, children were 2.2 cm taller than their same-sex parent and decreased to an average height percentile of 57.8. Multiple regression analysis showed that child sex, age, baseline height and percent overweight, midparent height, and height change of the child from baseline to 5 years accounted for 94% of the variance in growth. Child percent overweight change made no contribution to predicting height change. Comparison between children obese and nonobese at 10 years showed no differences in growth.

Conclusions.  —Moderate energy restriction with dietary guidance by overweight children did not negatively influence long-term growth.(AJDC. 1993;147:1076-1080)