It is estimated that one in three children in the United States are overweight or obese, and this number is only increasing. While there are many different factors that contribute to childhood obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits are two of the most significant.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of pediatric obesity and weight management programs that aim to help children lose weight and adopt healthier lifestyles. However, not all children who participate in these programs are successful in achieving long-term weight loss.
There are several parent and child characteristics that have been associated with non-response to a short-term lifestyle intervention in pediatric obesity and weight management. Parents who are less engaged in the program, have less education, and are of lower socioeconomic status are more likely to have children who do not respond to the intervention.
In terms of child characteristics, those who are older, have higher body mass indexes (BMIs), and have a history of weight cycling (losing and gaining weight repeatedly) are less likely to respond to the intervention.
It is important to note that these characteristics are not always predictive of treatment non-response. Some children and families who have one or more of these risk factors are still able to lose weight and adopt healthier lifestyles.
If your child is overweight or obese, there are many resources available to help you and your family make lifestyle changes that can lead to long-term weight loss. Talk to your child’s doctor about what options are available, and don’t give up if the first attempt isn’t successful. With perseverance, you can help your child achieve a healthy weight.
Treating pediatric obesity often requires a long-term commitment from both parents and children. However, not all families are willing or able to make this commitment. This study sought to understand the parent and child characteristics associated with treatment non-response to a short- versus long-term lifestyle intervention.
The study used a sample of 438 families who participated in a randomized trial of a short-term (6-month) or long-term (24-month) lifestyle intervention for pediatric obesity. Treatment response was defined as child weight loss of at least 5% at the end of the intervention.
The results showed that Treatment non-response was associated with several parent and child characteristics. For parents, treatment non-response was associated with being female, having lower education, and having a history of obesity. For children, treatment non-response was associated with being younger, having a higher BMI, and having a greater number of comorbidities.
This study highlights the importance of considering both parent and child characteristics when designing a treatment plan for pediatric obesity. Families who are less likely to respond to a short-term intervention may need a more intense or longer-term program in order to see results.