Perceptions of a pragmatic family-centered approach to childhood obesity treatment

Betty M. Kennedy, Genevieve Davison, Lauren A. Fowler, Erika Rodriguez-Guzman, Myra L. Collins, Alison Baker, Stephen Cook, Jeanne Lindros, Denise E. Wilfley, Ava J. Zebrick, Amanda E. Staiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Few studies have examined both parent and child preferences regarding family-based weight management programs (WMPs) delivered in primary care settings, especially among racial minority populations. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions that parents and their children/adolescents have about the components that should be included in a family-based WMP and to identify perceived preferences, benefits, and/or barriers to participation. Methods: A sample of 60 participants (30 parents and 30 children/adolescents) participated in 1 of 5 separate structured focus groups, using probing questions and the nominal group technique (NGT). Parents reported demographics for themselves and their children/adolescents. Themes from probing questions were identified using thematic analysis. Results: Parents were primarily African American (93%) and diverse in income. NGT sessions revealed that parents across all groups perceived that education on healthy eating, parental involvement, and effective program leaders are most important and have the greatest impact, while parental involvement was perceived as the easiest method to implement in a family-based WMP for childhood obesity. Children/adolescents perceived that education on healthy eating and exercise would have the greatest impact, while healthy eating and meal plans were perceived as the easiest methods to implement with a family. Parents and children/adolescents also identified improved psychological well-being (eg, decreased bullying, increased self-esteem, and motivation) as a desired program outcome. Conclusion: Parents and their children/adolescents highlighted the importance of physical and psychological health as targets in treatment. Feedback from patients can inform the design and implementation of family-based WMPs delivered in primary care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-40
Number of pages11
JournalOchsner Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Pediatric obesity
  • Primary health care
  • Weight loss
  • Weight reduction programs


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