Follow-up results of different treatment programs for obese children

Acta Paediatr. 1997 Apr;86(4):397-402. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1997.tb09030.x.


Objective: Many approaches have been tried in order to tackle the problem of obesity in children, but most of them have failed to achieve long-term weight loss. Cognitive behaviour therapy tends to predict good prospects. So far, no studies have investigated the surplus value of introducing a "healthy-eating" lifestyle program instead of a strict diet prescription, in combination with the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy. Therefore, a new program was designed. The second aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of different forms of therapeutic contact.

Subjects and methods: The obese group consisted of 205 children seeking treatment, and a control group of 54 obese school children. The effects of the program were evaluated by means of a pre-test/post-test design with a 1-y follow-up. Subjects were assigned to different therapeutic conditions: group therapy, individual therapy, summer camp or "advice in one session".

Results: A progressive and significant loss of weight for all therapeutic conditions was noticeable. The reduction continued at least 6 months after completing therapy. The control group, however, showed weight evolution in the opposite sense.

Conclusions: A replication of the positive effect of CBT was found in a broad sample of clinically obese children, even without strict diet prescription. Our hypothesis that group approach will result in a better outcome is borne out.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / standards*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychotherapy, Group / standards
  • Treatment Outcome