Parents can help kids to slim down

A weight loss intervention directed at parents of overweight children may be as effective as interventions directed at both parents and children, study findings suggest. This new study confirms what Dr. Walt and his colleagues found when they did research for their book SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. You can find the book here

More Information:

Reuters Health is reporting that Dr. David M. Janicke, of the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues found that over 10 months, children younger than 11 years fared better in the parent-only program, while older children lost more weight through the family-based program. 

The study is published in the December 2008 edition of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

“Parents exert an enormous influence on their children,” Janicke told Reuters Health. Providing a means for parents to help children adopt healthier lifestyles “is critical to helping improve health and weight status in children,” he said.

In this study, Janicke and colleagues compared a family-based and a parent-only weight loss program, versus no intervention, in 93 overweight and obese children, 8 to 14 years old, and their parents, the researchers report in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

About one third of the participants followed the family-based or the parent-only sessions offered through the Cooperative Extension Service offices serving the four rural counties in which each family lived. The remaining parents and children remained on a wait list and served as a comparison (control) group.

The Cooperative Extension Service provides nutrition, gardening, livestock, and farming information and programs in partnership with land-grant universities and the United States Department of Agriculture. Offices exist in virtually every county in the U.S., and therefore “offer a unique and ideal venue for delivery of weight management interventions for children in underserved or rural communities,” said Janicke.

The family-based intervention provided separate parent and children directed encouragement to decrease high-fat and high-sugar foods, increase vegetable and fruit intake, and increase pedometer-tallied physical activity. The parent-only sessions focused on similar goals parents could set for their children.

After 10 months, children from the intervention groups lost a similar amounts of weight and lost more weight than did the control group. Children younger than 11 years had about a 50 percent greater decrease in weight with the parent-only intervention, while children 11 years and older showed the same with the family-based intervention.

Janicke’s team suggests longer-duration investigations in larger groups of parents and children using similar “real-world settings.”

If you’d like to learn more about how you could do a similar program in your family, church, or school, you can learn more in Dr. Walt’s book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. You can find the book here

One thought on “Parents can help kids to slim down

  • Dan

    Obesity is when excess body fat accumulates in one to where this overgrowth makes the person unhealthy to varying degrees. Obesity is different than being overweight, as it is of a more serious concern. As measured by one’s body mass index (BMI), one’s BMI of 25 to 30 kg/m is considered overweight. If their BMI is 30 to 35 kg/m, they are class I obese, 35 to 40 BMI would be class II obese, and any BMI above 40 is class III obesity. Presently, with obesity affecting children progressively more, the issue of obesity has become a serious public health concern.
    Approximately half of all children under the age of 12 are either obese are overweight. About twenty percent of children ages 2 to 5 years old are either obese are overweight. Worldwide, nearly one and a half billion people are either obese or overweight. In the United States, about one third of adults are either obese or overweight. It is now predicted that, for the first time in about 150 years, our life expectancy is suppose to decline.
    Morbid obesity is defined as one who has a body mass index of 30 kg/m or greater, and this surgery, along with the three other types of surgery for morbid obesity, should be considered a last resort after all other methods to reduce the patient’s weight have chronically failed. Morbid obesity greatly affects the health of the patient in a very negative way. It has about 10 co-morbidities that can develop if the situation is not corrected. Some if not most of these co-morbidities are life-threatening.
    One solution beneficial in many cases of morbid obesity if one’s obesity is not eventually controlled or corrected is what is known as gastric bypass surgery. This is a type of bariatric surgery that essentially reduces the volume of the human stomach in order to correct and treat morbid obesity by surgical re-construction of the stomach and small intestine. Patients for such surgeries are those with a BMI of greater than 40, or a BMI greater than 35 if the patient has comorbidities aside from obesity. This surgery should be considered for the severely obese when other treatment options have failed.
    There are three surgical variations of gastric bypass surgery, and one is chosen by the surgeon based on their experience and success from the variation they will utilize. Generally, these surgeries are either gastric restrictive operations or malabsorptive operations. Over 200,000 gastric bypass surgeries are performed each year, and this surgery being performed continues to progress as a suitable option for the morbidly obese. There is evidence that this surgery is particularly beneficial for those obese patients that have non-insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus as well.
    So the surgery to correct morbid obesity greatly limits or prevents such co-morbidities associated with those who are obese. Two percent of those who undergo this surgery die as a result from about a half a dozen complications that could occur. However, the surgery reduces the overall mortality of the patient by 40 percent or so, yet this percentage is debatable due to conflicting clinical studies.
    Age of the patient should be taken into consideration, as to whether or not the risks of this surgery outweigh any potential benefits for the patient who may have existing co-morbidities that have already caused physiological damage to the patient. Also what should be determined by the surgeon is the amount of safety, effectiveness, and rationale for a particular patient regarding those patients who are elderly, for example.
    Many feel bariatric surgery such as this should be considered as a last resort when exercise and diet have failed for a great length of time.
    If a person or a doctor is considering this type of surgery, there is a website dedicated to bariatric surgery, which is: http://www.asmbs.org,

    Dan Abshear

Comments are closed.

Enter your email to subscribe to Dr. Walt's blogs.

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Dr. Walt Larimore will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.