The results, published in JAMA Pediatrics, revealed PBT was just as successful as FBT in improving nutrition, weight control, and physical activity — and it was typically less expensive for families, too.
The UCSF researchers kept track of the children’s weight loss over the course of two years and found the parent-only therapy resulted in weight loss about equal to the child included therapy. What’s more, after either PBT or FBT, the whole family tended to drop pounds, and an 18 month follow-up showed they kept the weight off. In both the PBT and FBT groups, over 92 percent of parents reported the program they attended helped change and improve the lifestyle of all their family members, too.
“Parents play a critical role in the process of helping their child lose weight by modeling healthy behaviors and reinforcing a balanced diet and exercise,” said Boutelle, UCSC professor of pediatrics and psychiatry. “Although FBT has been used as the gold standard of treatment, this is our second study that shows PBT is similarly effective. PBT could be used more to provide treatment to a greater proportion of the population.”
Why preventing childhood obesity is important
Because of the numerous health risks of obesity, helping youngsters with a serious weight problem lose excess pounds in a healthy way can go far in preventing a host of medical problems.
For example, obese children are at higher risk for asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. In addition, they are more likely to have risk factors for developing heart disease and several types of cancer as an adult, according to the CDC. Significantly overweight youngsters are also teased and bullied more than their normal weight kids and are more likely to feel isolated and depressed and suffer from low self-esteem.
“There are several reasons why families would prefer one therapy model over the other, but our study shows both treatment approaches (FBT and PBT) have similar outcomes, giving families more options and clinicians more tools in battling a national health crisis,” Boutelle said.
February 27, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN