Objective: To report the long-term change in children's overweight following a family-based health-centered approach where only parents were targeted compared with a control intervention where only children were targeted.
Research methods and procedures: Fifty of the 60 children who participated in the original study were located 7 years later, and their weight and height were measured. At the point of the 7-year follow-up, the children were 14 to 19 years of age. Repeated measure ANOVA was used to test differences between the groups in percent overweight at different time-points.
Results: Mean reduction in percent overweight was greater at all follow-up points in children of the parent-only group compared with those in the children-only group (p < 0.05). Seven years after the program terminated, mean reduction in children's overweight was 29% in the parent-only group vs. 20.2% in the children-only group (p < 0.05).
Discussion: Over the long term, treatment of childhood obesity with the parents as the exclusive agents of change was superior to the conventional approach.