The best outcomes for treating childhood obesity have come from comprehensive family-based programmes. However there are questions over their generalisability.
To examine the acceptability and effectiveness of ‘family-based behavioural treatment’ (FBBT) for childhood obesity in an ethnically and socially diverse sample of families in a UK National Health Service (NHS) setting.
In this parallel group, randomised controlled trial, 72 obese children were randomised to FBBT or waiting list control. Primary outcomes were body mass index (BMI) and BMI standard deviation scores (SDS). Secondary outcomes were weight, weight SDS, height, height SDS, waist, waist SDS, fat mass index, fat free mass index, blood pressure, and psychosocial measures. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and post-treatment, with analyses on the 6 month data done on an intent-to-treat (ITT) basis. Follow-up anthropometric data were collected at twelve months for the treatment group.
ITT analyses included all children with baseline data (n=60). There were significant BMI SDS changes (p<0.01) for the treatment and control groups of −0.11 (0.16) and −0.10 (1.6). The treatment group showed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (−0.24 (0.7), p<0.05) and improvements in quality of life and eating attitudes (p<0.05), with no significant changes for the control group. However the between-group treatment effects for BMI, body composition, blood pressure and psychosocial outcomes were not significant. There was no overall change in BMI or BMI SDS from 0-12 months for the treatment group. No adverse effects were reported.
Both treatment and control groups experienced significant reductions in level of overweight, but with no significant difference between them. There were no significant group differences for any of the secondary outcomes.