Objective: To examine pretreatment patient characteristics as predictors of treatment outcome 2 years after completion of an inpatient treatment for children with obesity.
Research Methods and Procedures: Children (N = 122) ranging in age from 7 to 17 years [mean, 12.7 ± 2.3 (SD) years] with a mean adjusted BMI of 179.5 ± 28.6% participated in an inpatient obesity treatment program. Children (90.2% response rate) participated in the 2-year follow-up. Eight predictors, administered at baseline, were entered in separate regression analyses, with weight loss and changes on three psychological health measures as the outcome measures.
Results: Analyses revealed that baseline degree of overweight, age, and initial weight loss were significant positive predictors of weight loss 2 years after treatment, whereas eating disorder characteristics were a negative predictor. Sex, socioeconomic status, global self-esteem, and symptoms of psychopathology did not predict weight loss. With regard to the psychological outcome measures, baseline symptomatology emerged as the most important predictor of treatment changes.
Discussion: Long-lasting weight loss is associated with severity of pretreatment characteristics. Identification of the clinical markers for long-term response to treatment is useful to set realistic weight loss goals for clients and to tailor treatment programs to patient characteristics.