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July 2017

Effectiveness of Childhood Obesity Treatment Through 20 Group Education Sessions Over 6 Months: Does the Attendance of a Child Matter?

Author Affiliations
  • 1School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  • 2Department of Endocrinology, Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital, Tongji University, China
  • 3School of Public Health, Fudan University, China
  • 4Health Promotion Unit, Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(7):619-620. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.0658

Without a doubt, overweight and obesity among children and adolescents is a serious public health challenge in the world, with a prevalence of around 23% in developed countries and 13% in developing countries in 2013.1 In particular, about one-third of American children are overweight or obese, 2 and Australian children are not far behind.3 This upward trend in the prevalence of overweight or obesity in children could well lead to many adverse health consequences in later life4 and future declines in life expectancy.5 Over the past 30 years, family-based treatment (FBT), rooted in behavior theory and delivered to both parents and children through nutrition and physical activity education and behavior therapy techniques, has gradually developed as a preferred treatment intervention.6 But FBT is both labor and cost intensive. The requirement of attendance by both parent and child for FBT may create a hurdle for busy families to participate and require more resources. There was a call for future studies to improve the methodological design and continue to explore the potential of the family-based approach.6