Impact of parental weight status on a school-based weight management programme designed for Mexican-American children

Pediatr Obes. 2016 Oct;11(5):354-60. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12066. Epub 2015 Oct 5.


Background: While overweight and obese children are more likely to have overweight or obese parents, less is known about the effect of parental weight status on children's success in weight management programmes.

Objectives: This study was a secondary data analysis of a randomized controlled trial and investigated the impact of having zero, one or two obese parents on children's success in a school-based weight management programme.

Methods: Sixty-one Mexican-American children participated in a 24-week school-based weight management intervention which took place in 2005-2006. Children's heights and weights were measured at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months. Parental weight status was assessed at baseline. Repeated measures anova and ancova were conducted to compare changes in children's weight within and between groups, respectively.

Results: Within-group comparisons revealed that the intervention led to significant decreases in standardized body mass index (zBMI) for children with zero (F = 23.16, P < .001) or one obese (F = 4.99, P < .05) parent. Between-group comparisons indicated that children with zero and one obese parents demonstrated greater decreases in zBMI compared to children with two obese parents at every time point.

Conclusions: The school-based weight management programme appears to be most efficacious for children with one or no obese parents compared to children with two obese parents. These results demonstrate the need to consider parental weight status when engaging in childhood weight management efforts.

Keywords: Childhood obesity; Mexican American; parents; school based.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Parents
  • School Health Services*
  • Schools
  • United States
  • Weight Reduction Programs / methods*