Randomized controlled trial of the MEND program: a family-based community intervention for childhood obesity

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Feb;18 Suppl 1:S62-8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.433.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it (MEND) Program, a multicomponent community-based childhood obesity intervention (www.mendcentral.org). One hundred and sixteen obese children (BMI >or= 98 th percentile, UK 1990 reference data) were randomly assigned to intervention or waiting list control (6-month delayed intervention). Parents and children attended eighteen 2-h group educational and physical activity sessions held twice weekly in sports centers and schools, followed by a 12-week free family swimming pass. Waist circumference, BMI, body composition, physical activity level, sedentary activities, cardiovascular fitness, and self-esteem were assessed at baseline and at 6 months. Children were followed up 12 months from baseline (0 and 6 months postintervention for the control and intervention group, respectively). Participants in the intervention group had a reduced waist circumference z-score (-0.37; P < 0.0001) and BMI z-score (-0.24; P < 0.0001) at 6 months when compared to the controls. Significant between-group differences were also observed in cardiovascular fitness, physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and self-esteem. Mean attendance for the MEND Program was 86%. At 12 months, children in the intervention group had reduced their waist and BMI z-scores by 0.47 (P < 0.0001) and 0.23 (P < 0.0001), respectively, and benefits in cardiovascular fitness, physical activity levels, and self-esteem were sustained. High-attendance rates suggest that families found this intensive community-based intervention acceptable. Further larger controlled trials are currently underway to confirm the promising findings of this initial trial.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Nutrition Sciences / education*
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
  • Community Participation
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / psychology
  • Program Evaluation
  • Self Concept
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Waist Circumference
  • Weight Loss / physiology*