Family-based behavioral weight control in obese young children

J Am Diet Assoc. 1986 Apr;86(4):481-4.


The effects of a family-based, behavioral weight control program on weight, linear growth, and nutrient intake among 17 obese children aged 1 to 6 were studied. The 1-year behavioral treatment involved three components: diet, exercise, and child management. Treatment meetings were held weekly for 10 weeks and then monthly for the remainder of the year. Relative body weight decreased significantly from 42.1% at baseline to 24.0% overweight at 1 year and 27.8% overweight at 2 years, while height increased normally over the 2 years of observation, suggesting that the children were obtaining adequate calories to maintain growth. The caloric and nutrient intakes of the children were analyzed from 3-day food records kept by the mothers during baseline and the tenth week of treatment. The mean caloric intake was 1,457 kcal prior to treatment and 1,025 kcal during treatment. Nutrient intake exceeded the Recommended Dietary Allowances at pretreatment for the nutrients investigated and continued to exceed the RDAs for all nutrients except calcium (96% of RDA) and iron (84% of RDA) during treatment. Improvements in nutrient density were shown for all nutrients. The results suggest that obesity can be treated successfully in young children without detrimental effects on growth or nutrient intake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Energy Intake
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Physical Exertion