Systematic review and meta-analysis of comprehensive behavioral family lifestyle interventions addressing pediatric obesity

J Pediatr Psychol. 2014 Sep;39(8):809-25. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsu023. Epub 2014 May 13.


Purpose: To conduct a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of comprehensive behavioral family lifestyle interventions (CBFLI) for pediatric obesity.

Method: Common research databases were searched for articles through April 1, 2013. 20 different studies (42 effect sizes and 1,671 participants) met inclusion criteria. Risk of bias assessment and rating of quality of the evidence were conducted.

Results: The overall effect size for CBFLIs as compared with passive control groups over all time points was statistically significant (Hedge's g = 0.473, 95% confidence interval [.362, .584]) and suggestive of a small effect size. Duration of treatment, number of treatment sessions, the amount of time in treatment, child age, format of therapy (individual vs. group), form of contact, and study use of intent to treat analysis were all statistically significant moderators of effect size.

Conclusion: CBFLIs demonstrated efficacy for improving weight outcomes in youths who are overweight or obese.

Keywords: children; intervention outcome; meta-analysis; obesity.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Pediatric Obesity / psychology
  • Pediatric Obesity / therapy*