For kids trying to lose weight and get in shape, parent involvement may be essential. A study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics found that a parent-driven diet program was best at helping kids shed pounds and gain other health benefits.
The study involved 165 overweight children ranging in age from about 6 to 10 years old. Each was randomly assigned to one of three interventions: a diet program taught to parents by dietitians that focused on goal setting, problem solving and positive reinforcement from parents; an activity program for kids taught by physical education teachers, with parents taking part early on and encouraged to do more at home with their kids; and a combination of the two programs, with parents and children both participating.
Children in all three groups reduced their body mass index and waist circumference after two years. However, at that two-year point the diet program and the combination program had better results than the activity program.
The authors noted that this detail was important, since it may mean that childhood obesity treatments could just involve parents’ supervision of their kids’ diets.
The implication, they said, is that parents’ input might be necessary to see results: “In addition,” they wrote, “parents can participate in intervention programs that will benefit their child without their child being required to participate.”