Family-based interventions targeting childhood obesity: A meta-analysis

Jerica M Berge, Jessie C. Everts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background: With the rising prevalence of childhood obesity over the last several decades, and the call for more family-based intervention research to combat childhood obesity, it is important to examine the extant research on family-based interventions in order to make recommendations and improve future research. Objective: To conduct a meta-analysis of family-based interventions targeting childhood obesity in the last decade in order to inform the research in the next decade. Methods: A literature review was conducted between December 2009-April 2010. Studies published between the years 2000-2009 that used family-based interventions to treat childhood obesity were included. A total of 20 studies met inclusionary criteria. Results: Although results varied by study design, the majority of studies had a moderate to large effect size for change in the target child's BMI (BMI percentile, zBMI, percent overweight) after participating in a family-based intervention. Long-term change varied by study, but the majority of studies produced sustainable change in child BMI, although smaller effect sizes. Change in secondary variables (dietary intake, sugar-sweetened beverage intake, physical activity) were substantially different between studies and are reported as trends. Conclusion: To date, there is preliminary evidence that suggesting that family-based interventions targeting childhood obesity are successful in producing weight loss in the short and long-term. Including families in weight loss treatment of obese children warrants further implementation and study. Limitations with the research, recommendations for future research, and implications for practitioners working with overweight/obese children are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-121
Number of pages12
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

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