Which factors are associated with a successful outcome in a weight management programme for obese children?

J Eval Clin Pract. 2007 Jun;13(3):364-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2006.00706.x.


Aims and objective: To identify factors important in determining whether an obese child achieves significant reductions in Body Mass Index Standard Deviation Score (BMI SDS) within a UK, hospital-based paediatric obesity service aimed at lifestyle modification.

Design: Observational Study.

Subjects: 137 obese children (63 boys) who have attended our childhood obesity service within the last three and a half years at The Royal Hospital for Children, Bristol, UK.

Measurements: BMI SDS with a target reduction of - 0.5 or greater.

Results: 70% of children achieved reductions in BMI SDS with 18% achieving the target reduction. In those attending the clinic for a year or more the levels improved to 83% and 28% respectively. Age was found to be the most important predictor with younger children achieving larger reductions in BMI SDS. More boys than girls were likely to achieve target reductions in BMI SDS and those without a parental history of obesity were more likely to achieve greater reductions in BMI SDS. Socio-economic status did not appear to impact upon the child's level of success.

Conclusions: In families of obese children, motivated to seek help by attending a hospital-based weight control clinic, improvements in BMI are possible by a simple approach of education and continued support. Improvement is greatest in younger children with maximal benefit being seen in boys without a parental history of obesity. We believe this emphasizes the importance of identifying significant obesity in primary school aged children, who seem most likely to benefit from simple lifestyle modification, while many older children may require additional intervention programmes to improve BMI.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Weight Loss*