Comparison of Two Models of Family-Based Treatment for Childhood Obesity: A Pilot Study

Kristie Bergmann, Zoe Mestre, David Strong, Dawn M. Eichen, Kyung Rhee, Scott Crow, Denise Wilfley, Kerri N. Boutelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Family-based weight loss treatment (FBT) for childhood obesity, the current "gold standard," is typically provided in weekly groups for 6 months. Although this program is considered effective, it poses limitations to treatment engagement, due to time commitment and lack of widespread availability. A guided self-help version of FBT (gshFBT; eleven 20-minute sessions and one 1-hour over 5 months) was developed to circumvent such limitations. The current study examined the comparative efficacy of a 5-month FBT and gshFBT program. Methods: Participants included 50 parent-child dyads enrolled in FBT between 2011 and 2013 and 50 parent-child dyads enrolled in gshFBT between 2009 and 2010. Data were collected at baseline, posttreatment, and 6-month follow-up. Noninferiority analyses were conducted to assess comparative efficacy of changes in parent and child weight status, child nutrition, child physical activity, and drop-out. Results: Results indicated that gshFBT was noninferior to FBT in changes in child BMI z-score, overweight parent BMI, child nutritional intake, child vigorous physical activity, and drop-out. Results did not support noninferiority for changes in moderate to vigorous physical activity. Conclusions: gshFBT is less intensive, more flexible, and may be similarly effective to FBT and could reach a greater proportion of the pediatric overweight population. Further research, including a randomized clinical trial, is needed to confirm these results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • child
  • family-based treatment
  • guided self-help
  • obesity
  • parent


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