Context: Pediatric obesity has escalated to epidemic proportions, leading to an array of comorbidities, including type 2 diabetes in youth. Since most overweight children become overweight adults, this chronic condition results in serious metabolic complications by early adulthood. To curtail this major health issue, effective pediatric interventions are essential.
Objective: To compare effects of a weight management program, Bright Bodies, on adiposity and metabolic complications of overweight children with a control group.
Design: One-year randomized controlled trial conducted May 2002-September 2005.
Setting: Recruitment and follow-up conducted at Yale Pediatric Obesity Clinic in New Haven, Conn, and intervention at nearby school.
Participants: Random sample of 209 overweight children (body mass index [BMI] >95th percentile for age and sex), ages 8 to 16 years of mixed ethnic groups were recruited. A total of 135 participants (60%) completed 6 months of study, 119 (53%) completed 12 months.
Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned to either a control or weight management group. The control group (n = 69) received traditional clinical weight management counseling every 6 months, and the weight management group (n = 105) received an intensive family-based program including exercise, nutrition, and behavior modification. Intervention occurred biweekly the first 6 months, bimonthly thereafter. The second randomization within the weight management group assigned participants (n = 35) to a structured meal plan approach (dieting), but this arm of the study was discontinued while enrollment was ongoing due to a high dropout rate.
Main outcome measures: Change in weight, BMI, body fat, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) at 6 and 12 months.
Results: Six-month improvements were sustained at 12 months in weight management vs control, including changes in the following (mean [95% confidence interval]): weight (+0.3 kg [-1.4 to 2.0] vs +7.7 kg [5.3 to 10.0]); BMI (-1.7 [-2.3 to -1.1] vs +1.6 [0.8 to 2.3]); body fat (-3.7 kg [-5.4 to -2.1] vs +5.5 kg [3.2 to 7.8]); and HOMA-IR (-1.52 [-1.93 to -1.01] vs +0.90 [-0.07 to 2.05]).
Conclusion: The Bright Bodies weight management program had beneficial effects on body composition and insulin resistance in overweight children that were sustained up to 12 months.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00409422.