Program

Jul 03, 2012

OVERVIEW

Children’s Appetite Awareness Training (CAAT) aimed to decrease the amount of
obese and overweight children’s eating in the absence of hunger (EAH). In a
random assignment study, children were enrolled in one of two intervention
conditions: the Volcravo group focusing on children’s cravings and the CAAT
group focused on increasing children’s awareness of hunger states. The
researchers measured outcomes at baseline, post-treatment, six months
post-treatment, and 12 months post-treatment. Children in the CAAT group
exhibited decreased binge eating. However, negative impacts were found on BMI
among the CAAT group. The intervention did not have significant impacts on EAH,
caloric intake, or any parent outcomes.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAMS

Target population: Overweight or obese children

The CAAT intervention consists of eight weeks of weekly treatments. Parents and
children receive treatment for about 45 minutes in separate groups at the same
time. The groups are roughly 8 to 10 people in size. Similar content and coping
strategies are presented at both parent and child groups, yet it is adapted to
be age-appropriate for children. Parents also learn parenting skills in both
intervention conditions. Doctoral-level psychologists and master’s-level
co-therapists lead the groups, have the same 1-day training prior to the
intervention, and meet weekly with the lead researcher. After the sessions, the
parent and child groups take part in experiential exercises.

The sessions of the appetite awareness training, named “Children’s Appetite
Awareness Training” (CAAT), focus on heightening children’s perception of hunger
states in order to inform how much food they eat. Parents and children bring a
meal to the sessions and participate in a hunger monitoring exercise. They
monitor hunger at the beginning, middle, and end of the meal as well as 10 and
20 minutes after finishing the meal.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

Boutelle, K. N., Zucker, N. L., Peterson, C. B., Rydell, S. A., Cafri, G., &
Harnack, L. (2011). Two novel treatments to reduce overeating in overweight
children: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology, 79
(6), 759-771.

Evaluated population: Thirty-six overweight and obese childrenas
well as their parent constituted this sample. The researchers used an eating in
the absence of hunger (EAH) paradigm to identify overweight and obese children.
Children were eligible if their body mass index (BMI) was at least in the 85th
percentile and their parents noted the child EAH. Children were excluded is they
were in a different weight loss program, taking weight-related medication, had
food allergies or dietary restrictions, or had any mental or physical condition
that would affect their participation. Overall, 58 percent of the children were
female, and 86 percent of the parents were females.

In the CAAT group, 50 percent of the children were female, 41 percent were
Caucasian, 12 percent were African-American, 24 percent were multi-race, and 24
percent were identified as other. Among the parent participants, 83 percent were
female, 67 percent were Caucasian, 17 percent were African-American, 6 percent
were multi-race, and 11 percent were identified as other.

Approach: The gender of the children was used when randomly assigning
them to one of the two treatment conditions. The researchers measured impacts on
the children and the parents. Child outcomes included EAH, child usual dietary
intake, binge eating, anthropometry (height and weight measurements), and
treatment acceptability. Parent outcomes included demographic characteristics
and weight history, binge eating, EAH, anthropometry, and treatment
acceptability. Outcomes were measured at baseline, post-treatment, 6 months
after treatment, and 12 months after treatment.

Results: The CAAT intervention had impacts on children’s binge eating
episodes, with a significant decrease from baseline to the 12-month follow-up.
However, children had increased BMIs at post-treatment as well as at the six-
and 12-month follow-up. The intervention did not have significant impacts on
EAH, caloric intake, or any parent outcomes.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Boutelle, K. N., Zucker, N. L., Peterson, C. B., Rydell, S. A., Cafri, G., &
Harnack, L. (2011). Two novel treatments to reduce overeating in overweight
children: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology, 79
(6), 759-771.

KEYWORDS: children, adolescents, males and females,
urban, clinic/provider-based, parent or family component, parent
training/education, skills training, eating disorders, obesity

Program information last updated on 7/3/2012.

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