Parent-only interventions in the treatment of childhood obesity: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

Ewald, H.; Kirby, J.; Rees, K.; Robertson, W.
September 2014
Journal of Public Health;Sep2014, Vol. 36 Issue 3, p476
Academic Journal
Background An effective and cost-effective treatment is required for the treatment of childhood obesity. Comparing parent-only interventions with interventions including the child may help determine this. Methods A systematic review of published and ongoing studies until 2013, using electronic database and manual searches. Inclusion criteria: randomized controlled trials, overweight/obese children aged 5–12 years, parent-only intervention compared with an intervention that included the child, 6 months or more follow-up. Outcomes included measures of overweight. Results Ten papers from 6 completed studies, and 2 protocols for ongoing studies, were identified. Parent-only groups are either more effective than or similarly effective as child-only or parent–child interventions, in the change in degree of overweight. Most studies were at unclear risk of bias for randomization, allocation concealment and blinding of outcome assessors. Two trials were at high risk of bias for incomplete outcome data. Four studies showed higher dropout from parent-only interventions. One study examined programme costs and found parent-only interventions to be cheaper. Conclusions Parent-only interventions appear to be as effective as parent–child interventions in the treatment of childhood overweight/obesity, and may be less expensive. Reasons for higher attrition rates in parent-only interventions need further investigation.


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