A new study has revealed that parent-only treatments for childhood obesity work equally as well as plans that include parents and child.
Moreover, the method is more cost effective and potentially easier for families, according to the study led by a researcher at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
"Our results showed that the parent-only group was not inferior in terms of child weight loss, parent weight loss and child physical activity," said Kerri N. Boutelle, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at UC San Diego.
"While further research is needed, our work suggests that parent-only groups are a viable method for providing childhood obesity treatment," he said.
"Parents are the most significant people in a child's environment, serving as the first and most important teachers," said Boutelle
"Since they play a significant role in any weight-loss program for children, we wondered if the same results could be achieved by working with just the parents, without the child coming to the clinic."
The researchers looked at eighty parent-child groups with an 8 to 12-year-old overweight or obese child, and randomly assigned families into parent-only or parent + child treatment programs for five months.
The results showed that the parent-only group provided similar results in child weight loss and other relevant outcomes.
The results were published today in the advanced online edition of the journal Obesity.