The preliminary effects of a primary care-based randomized treatment trial with overweight and obese young children and their parents

Leigh Small, Darya Bonds-McClain, Bernadette Melnyk, Linda Vaughan, Alex M. Gannon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    23 Scopus citations


    Introduction: Twenty-three percent of preschoolers are overweight/obese, which puts these children at risk for the development of chronic health comorbidities. The purpose of this randomized control pilot study was to determine the feasibility and preliminary effects of a theoretically based, primary care intervention on the physical outcomes of 60 overweight/obese preschool/early school-aged 4- to 8-year-old children. Methods: After recruitment and baseline assessment, parent-child dyads were randomly assigned to either the treatment or the control condition. Four intervention sessions were conducted with the parents in their child's primary health care office. The impact of the intervention was evaluated by assessing child anthropometric measures (e.g., waist, waist-by-height ratio, and body mass index [BMI]) immediately, 3 months, and 6 months after the intervention period. Results: Analysis of variance models suggested that children in the experimental group were found to have reduced waist circumference and waist-by-height ratio immediately after the intervention that persisted for 3 and 6 months (f = 0.33, 0.35, respectively). BMI and BMI percentile were not differentially affected. Discussion: These promising findings suggest that a primary care-based, parent-focused overweight/obesity treatment program is feasible and demonstrated positive preliminary effects, improving the children's overall health trajectory.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)198-207
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - May 2014



    • Motivational interviewing
    • Obesity treatment
    • Preschool child
    • Randomized controlled trial

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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