, Volume 168, Issue 9, pp 1091-1099
Date: 16 Dec 2008

Family-based group treatment versus individual treatment in the management of childhood obesity: randomized, prospective clinical trial

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This study assessed the short- and long-term effects of a 3-month family-based group treatment in the management of childhood obesity versus individual treatment.

Materials and methods

Eighty obese children, aged between 6 and 14 years, and their parents were included in this prospective controlled clinical study. Forty participants were randomly assigned for group treatment and the other 40 for individual treatment. A 3-month intervention program was focused on implementing healthy eating behaviors. The weight and height of the children were measured initially and at each treatment session and at follow-up visits. Body mass index was calculated and expressed as standard deviation score.

Results and discussion

At the end of 3-month treatment program, there was a significant decline in BMI SDS in both groups (p < 0.001). After 1 year of follow-up period, there was still a significant decrease in BMI SDS in the study group (p < 0.001), whereas the decrease in BMI SDS was not maintained over the follow-up period in the standard group. There was a significantly increased consumption of vegetable and fruit and reduced consumption of carbonated drinks and fruit juice in both groups (p < 0.001).


These findings demonstrate that the group treatment is more successful than the individual treatment in the management of childhood obesity.