Parent predictors of child weight change in family based behavioral obesity treatment

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Jul;20(7):1539-43. doi: 10.1038/oby.2012.48. Epub 2012 Feb 23.


Family based behavioral treatment for overweight and obese children includes parenting skills targeting the modification of child eating and activity change. The purpose of this study was to examine parenting skills and parent weight change as predictors of child weight change in a sample of 80 parent/child dyads who were enrolled in a family based behavioral weight loss program for childhood obesity. Eighty overweight and obese children and their parents who enrolled in treatment in two sites were included in the study. Variables included those related to parent modeling (parent BMI), home food environment, parenting (parent and child report), and demographics. Results suggested that parent BMI change was a significant predictor of child weight, in that a reduction of 1 BMI unit in the parent was associated with a 0.255 reduction in child BMI. None of the other variables were significant in the final model. This study is consistent with other research showing that parent weight change is a key contributor to child weight change in behavioral treatment for childhood obesity. Researchers and clinicians should focus on encouraging parents to lose weight to assist their overweight and obese child in weight management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Body Mass Index
  • California / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Family Health*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents* / psychology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Social Environment