Treating childhood obesity: Family background variables and the child's success in a weight-control intervention




To analyze whether caregiver and family characteristics predict success in a family-based lifestyle intervention program for children and adolescents.


Participants were 111 overweight and obese children (7–15 years) who attended a family-based weight-reduction program. Body mass index (BMI) and BMI standard deviation scores (BMI-SDS) of index child, and BMI of family members, family adversity characteristics, depression, and attachment attitudes of the primary caregiver were assessed.


Risk of nonresponse (≤5% reduction of BMI-SDS or dropout) was elevated in older children, cases with obese sibling(s), maternal depression, and avoidant attachment attitude. In a logistic regression analysis, maternal depression, attachment attitude, and age of index child explained common variance whereas the presence of obese siblings explained unique variance in nonresponding.


To meet the specific needs of all participating families and to prevent the discouraging experience of failure in weight-control interventions, our data suggest that special support should be provided to adolescents with obese siblings, and cases of maternal depression, and avoidant attachment attitude. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2009