Behavioral and Psychological Predictors of BMI Reduction in Children Seeking Treatment at a Hospital Clinics Family Based Pediatric Weight Management Program

The rate and occurrence of childhood obesity is concerning and sets young people on a trajectory of lifetime physical health and psychological problems. Although randomized controlled trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of family-based pediatric lifestyle modification interventions, there is still a dearth of research evaluating behavioral and psychological predictors of treatment outcome under realworld practice settings.
Objective: To address this gap, we explored demographic, behavioral, and psychological predictors of treatment success in a family-based pediatric weight management program in a hospital-based clinic.
Methods: For 662 consecutively-treated children with overweight/obesity, we conducted four linear regressions examining demographic, psychological and behavioral predictors of post BMI z-scores (z-BMI), controlling for pretreatment BMI z-scores.
Overall there was a significant decrease in z-BMI from pre to post-treatment. Linear regressions revealed that participants who began treatment at a younger age, lower BMI (<99th percentile), and who, at pre-treatment, were more likely to have externalizing problems (CBCL) had a lower z-BMI at post treatment, after controlling for pretreatment z-BMI. Results also indicated that those who attended more visits, specifically more visits with an exercise specialist, and who achieved more behavioral goals in treatment, had a lower z-BMI at post treatment, after controlling for pre-treatment z-BMI.
Conclusion: Our findings provide modest support for the effectiveness of family-based pediatric lifestyle modification interventions in hospital-based clinics. We suggest the need for health care providers to identify and prepare children and their families to enter treatment at a younger age and lower BMI, to emphasize sessions with exercise specialists, and treatment engagement/goal achievement at home.


Blomquist KK, Griffin S, Hays EL, Schmalz D, Sease K and Reeves CB

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