Objectives: Childhood overweight has increased significantly in the past 20 years, with the highest rates noted among Mexican Americans. Although this minority group is in significant need of intervention, few programs have demonstrated actual decreases in weight. In this study we evaluated an intensive healthy lifestyle program designed to result in weight reduction for overweight Mexican American children. We hypothesized that children randomly assigned to an intensive intervention would significantly reduce their standardized BMI when compared with children randomly assigned to a self-help condition.
Patients and methods: A total of 60 children (33 boys; 55%) between the ages of 10 and 14 years at or above the 85th percentile for BMI were randomly assigned to a 6-month intensive-intervention or self-help condition.
Results: Children in the intensive-intervention condition significantly reduced their standardized BMI when compared with the children in the self-help condition. The change in standardized BMI was significantly different at both 3 and 6 months, with intensive-intervention participants showing greater decreases in weight.
Conclusions: Overall, the results were promising, suggesting that an intensive, individualized intervention may be an effective means for promoting weight loss in overweight Mexican American children.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00454610.