Shared weight and dietary changes in parent-child dyads following family-based obesity treatment

John R. Best, Andrea B. Goldschmidt, Danyte S. Mockus-Valenzuela, Richard I. Stein, Leonard H. Epstein, Denise E. Wilfley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives: The primary objective was to determine whether children and their participating parents undergoing family-based behavioral treatment (FBT) for obesity show similar dietary changes following treatment, and if so, whether these shared dietary changes explain the similarity in weight change within the parent- child dyad. Method: Data come from a randomized controlled trial of 148 parent- child dyads who completed FBT and were followed over a 2-year maintenance phase. Energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods ("RED" foods) and fruit and vegetable intake were assessed across time. Results: Maintenance of lower RED food intake following FBT predicted weight maintenance in children and in parents (ps <.01), and dietary and weight changes were correlated within parent- child dyads (ps <.01). Most interesting, the similarity in long-term weight maintenance between children and their parents was predicted by the similarity in long-term changes in RED food intake between children and their parents (p <.001). Conclusions: These findings point to the important role of maintaining low energy-dense, nutrient-poor food intake for long-term weight maintenance in children and parents. Furthermore, these results suggest that the correlation between parent and child weight maintenance can be explained in part by similar long-term changes in energy-dense, nutrient-poor food intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-95
Number of pages4
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Childhood obesity
  • Dietary intake
  • Family-based treatment
  • Long-term weight maintenance
  • Parent- child dynamics

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