Jul 02, 2012


The Volcravo intervention 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 Children’s Appetite Awareness Training
(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 posttreatment. At post-treatment, Volcravo
children had significant decreases in EAH. Additionally, children exhibited
decreased binge eating at the six and 12-month follow-up. No significant impact
on BMI, caloric intake, or any parent outcomes were found.


Target population: Overweight or obese children

The Volcravo 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 experiential exercises.

The sessions of the cue exposure treatment-food group, named “Volcravo,” center
on acknowledging cravings and learning strategies in order to not give into them
whenever not physically hungry. Parents and children identify foods that cause
high cravings, bring them to the sessions, and complete exposure treatments.
Exposure treatments involved rating cravings from 1-5 with various levels of
intensity of exposure, such as looking at the food, taking two bites, etc.


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. The gender of the child was
used to randomize the sample.

In the Volcravo group, 67 percent of the children were female, 39 percent were
Caucasian, 22 percent were African-American, 22 percent were mult-irace, and 17
percent were identified as other. Among the parent participants, 89 percent
were female, 65 percent were Caucasian, 24 percent were African-American, 6
percent were multi-race, and 6 percent were identified as other.

Approach: The gender of the children was used when randomly assigning
them to one of the two treatment conditions: Volcravo or CAAT. More details on
the CAAT condition can be found in the other write-up (INSERT HYPERLINK). In the
Volcravo condition, 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

Results: The Volcravo intervention had a significant impact on children’s
EAH with reduced levels of EAH measured at post-treatment. This intervention
also had significant impacts on children’s binge eating episodes, with decreased
episodes reported at the 6- and 12-month follow up. The Volcravo intervention
did not have a significant impact on BMI, children’s caloric intake, or any
parent outcomes.

Alternatively, the CAAT intervention did not have significant impacts on EAH,
but children did have increased BMIs at post-treatment as well as at the six-
and 12-month follow-up.


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 7/2/2012.