BACKGROUND: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a staged approach to pediatric weight management, starting with helping families to make targeted dietary and activity changes. This pilot study evaluated the preliminary efficacy of a pediatric practice-based referral program to support parents in helping their overweight/obese children improve their weight-related behaviors and BMI.
METHODS: A nonrandomized intervention study with contemporaneous control was used. Parents and their children ages 8-12 with BMI > /=85th percentile (N = 37) were recruited from a pediatric practice serving a low-income, multiethnic population. Providers delivered brief intervention and referred families to six weekly FITLINE telephone counseling sessions with a nutritionist who guided parents in helping their child make AAP-recommended changes. Child BMI and parent survey of child diet and physical activity were completed at baseline and 3 months. Medical record data from 44 children matched for age and BMI were collected.
RESULTS: Mean change in BMI from baseline to 3-month follow-up was -0.49 BMI units (standard deviation [SD], 0.95; p = 0.007) for the FITLINE group and 0.35 BMI units (SD, 0.96; p = 0.02) for the control group. Adjusting for baseline BMI, age, and sex, children in the FITLINE condition reduced BMI significantly more than children in the control condition (mean difference = -0.89; p = 0.0003). Significant improvements in many dietary and sedentary behaviors also were noted.
CONCLUSIONS: The FITLINE program reduced short-term BMI and improved dietary and sedentary behaviors. A randomized, controlled trial is warranted to assess the program's efficacy and potential to serve as a model for reducing obesity in pediatric practice.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/barbara_olendzki/81/