Outcome data from the LEAP (Live, Eat and Play) trial: a randomized controlled trial of a primary care intervention for childhood overweight/mild obesity

Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 Apr;31(4):630-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803509. Epub 2006 Dec 12.


Objectives: To reduce gain in body mass index (BMI) in overweight/mildly obese children in the primary care setting.

Design: Randomized controlled trial (RCT) nested within a baseline cross-sectional BMI survey.

Setting: Twenty nine general practices, Melbourne, Australia.

Participants: (1) BMI survey: 2112 children visiting their general practitioner (GP) April-December 2002; (2) RCT: individually randomized overweight/mildly obese (BMI z-score <3.0) children aged 5 years 0 months-9 years 11 months (82 intervention, 81 control).

Intervention: Four standard GP consultations over 12 weeks, targeting change in nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, supported by purpose-designed family materials.

Main outcome measures: Primary: BMI at 9 and 15 months post-randomization. Secondary: Parent-reported child nutrition, physical activity and health status; child-reported health status, body satisfaction and appearance/self-worth.

Results: Attrition was 10%. The adjusted mean difference (intervention-control) in BMI was -0.2 kg/m(2) (95% CI: -0.6 to 0.1; P=0.25) at 9 months and -0.0 kg/m(2) (95% CI: -0.5 to 0.5; P=1.00) at 15 months. There was a relative improvement in nutrition scores in the intervention arm at both 9 and 15 months. There was weak evidence of an increase in daily physical activity in the intervention arm. Health status and body image were similar in the trial arms.

Conclusions: This intervention did not result in a sustained BMI reduction, despite the improvement in parent-reported nutrition. Brief individualized solution-focused approaches may not be an effective approach to childhood overweight. Alternatively, this intervention may not have been intensive enough or the GP training may have been insufficient; however, increasing either would have significant cost and resource implications at a population level.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Body Image
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Family Practice / economics
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight*
  • Self Concept