Program

Nov 29, 2010

OVERVIEW

The
Dietary-Behavioral-Physical Activity Intervention is a brief three month
treatment for childhood obesity. It addresses nutrition, exercise, and behavior,
and aims to reduce weight, body mass index (BMI), percent body fat, cholesterol
and triglyceride levels, as well as increase fitness and have an impact on
nutrition and exercise habits. An evaluation of the intervention found that it
had a positive impact on BMI, percent body fat, weight, and physical activity
through the one-year follow-up.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:
Obese children and
adolescents

The
Dietary-Behavioral-Physical Activity Intervention is a multi-component treatment
for childhood obesity that is administered over the course of three months.
Participants and their parents were invited to attend four evening lectures on
childhood obesity, general nutrition, a therapeutic nutritional approach for
childhood obesity, and exercise and childhood obesity. For the dietary component
of the intervention participants attended six meetings with a dietitian, some
with and some without parents, depending on the age of the participant. The
first meeting was 45 to 60 minutes in length and covered the reasons for
childhood obesity, nutrition, and cooking information, and also involved the
dietitian trying to get the family to understand the motivation to lose weight
and to be involved in the fight against obesity. The other five meetings were 30
to 45 minutes in length and were concerned mainly with nutrition education.
Participants also received worksheets and flyers with information on nutritional
issues and received a diet with 15 percent fewer calories than the required
daily intake. The exercise component of the program involved twice-weekly
one-hour training sessions, which were led by professional youth coaches. The
participants were also told to engage in 30 to 45 minutes of additional physical
activity each week and generally limit their sedentary activities.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

Evaluated population:
Participants were 54 obese
children and adolescents (6 to 16 years old) who did not have an organic cause
for their obesity and were not taking any medications that might interfere with
growth or weight control. The average age was 11 years old; 26 of the
participants were male and 20 were female.

Approach: Participants were randomly assigned to the treatment or control condition. Those
in the control condition received one nutrition consultation and were told to
engage in physical activity three times a week. Participants were assessed on
height, weight, BMI, percent body fat, caloric intake, screen time, endurance,
physical activity, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels at baseline and
immediately following the three-month intervention. All of these assessments,
except for cholesterol and triglyceride levels, were made again at the one-year
follow-up.

Results: Assessments after the intervention found differences between the intervention
and control participants with intervention participants having lower BMI,
weight, percent body fat, and cholesterol levels, and higher fitness and
physical activity. There was no difference between the two groups in terms of
caloric intake, screen time, or triglyceride levels.

Assessments at the one-year follow-up indicated that there were differences
between the groups with the intervention group having lower BMI, weight, percent
body fat, and higher fitness and physical activity. At the one-year follow-up,
there were no differences in terms of caloric intake or screen time.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Nemet,
D., Barkan, S., Epstein, Y., Friedland, O., Kowen, G., & Eliakim, A. (2005).
Short- and long-term beneficial effects of a combined
dietary-behavioral-physical activity intervention for the treatment of childhood
obesity. Pediatrics, 115,443-449.

KEYWORDS: Children
(3-11), Adolescents (12-17), Males and Females (Co-ed), Clinic/Provider-based,
Parent or Family Component, Health Status/Conditions, Nutrition, Obesity

Program information last updated 11/29/10

Subscribe to Child Trends

Short weekly updates of recent research on children and youth.