Child self-reported motivations for weight loss: impact of personal vs. social/familial motives on family-based behavioral weight loss treatment outcomes

Eat Weight Disord. 2015 Jun;20(2):205-13. doi: 10.1007/s40519-014-0140-5. Epub 2014 Jul 27.


Purpose: Parent motivation is related to successful treatment outcome among children enrolled in obesity treatment. However, the impact of child weight loss motivation on treatment outcome has not been investigated. The current study evaluated weight loss motives among treatment-seeking, overweight children, and their relationship to treatment outcome.

Methods: The current study is a secondary analysis of a primary study examining a parent-only and parent + child childhood obesity treatment. Study participants included 77 children (aged 8-12, 58 % female). Assessments were completed at baseline, post-treatment, and at 6-months post-treatment. Children completed standardized height and weight procedures. In addition, they completed a checklist of reasons children may be motivated to lose weight. Motives were divided into two scales reflecting personal and social/familial reasons to lose weight. Regression analyses were used to calculate associations between the number of weight loss motives endorsed and treatment completion, sessions attended, and child BMI.

Results: A greater number of social/familial motives were significantly predictive of session attendance, treatment completion, and a lower child BMI at the post-treatment assessment.

Conclusions: Children who are motivated to lose weight because of family/social influences may be more highly engaged in treatment and lose more weight, as compared to children who are less motivated by family and social reasons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Child
  • Family Relations
  • Family Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Overweight / therapy
  • Pediatric Obesity / psychology
  • Pediatric Obesity / therapy*
  • Self Report
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Reduction Programs*