Long-term follow-up of overweight children: after training, after a single consultation session, and without treatment

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003 Jul;37(1):72-4. doi: 10.1097/00005176-200307000-00013.


Background: A satisfactory treatment of childhood obesity has not yet been found. An individual consultation session is the usual practice while experts recommend an outpatient training program consisting of a combination of physical exercise, nutrition education, and behavior therapy.

Methods: We analyzed degree of overweight (SDS-BMI) after one and two years in overweight children (aged 6-15 years) who had had a single consultation session (n = 66) and who had finished a one-year, structured outpatient training program consisting of physical exercise, nutrition education, and behavior therapy (n = 81). Furthermore we collected data on changes in weight for a control group of overweight children not receiving any treatment (n = 100) over the same period of time.

Results: There was no significant change in the degree of overweight over the period of two years either for the control group or for those having received single consultation. The participants of the training were in mean significantly less overweight than at the beginning of the training (P < 0.001), both after one year (mean change in SDS-BMI -0.38) and after the second year (mean change in SDS-BMI -0.30).

Conclusions: Overweight children not receiving treatment do not reduce in weight. A single consultation session is not sufficient to achieve weight reduction in children. Weight reduction over at least two years can be achieved in part of the participants of a long-term, specialized treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavior Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Education / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Sciences / education
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Patient Education as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time