The effectiveness of local child weight management programmes: an audit study


Penney Upton, Head of Psychological Sciences, Institute of Health and Society, University of Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester WR2 6AJ, UK. E-mail:


Background  Many different child weight management programmes exist, with varying degrees of evaluation to provide evidence of their success. The purpose of this research was to use a standardized approach to audit the effectiveness of weight management intervention programmes in the West Midlands region of the UK, specifically to assess the benefits to participating children in terms of health improvement and behaviour change.

Methods  An audit of seven family-based intervention programmes currently in place in the West Midlands. Programmes were audited against the Standard Evaluation Framework.

Results  The programmes provided a partial data set relating to a change in weight from the baseline to the end of the programme; none of the programmes provided all of the measures indicated by the Standard Evaluation Form as being essential for evaluation. Weight change ranged from an increase in group mean of 0.4 kg to a decrease of 0.9 kg. Body Mass Index SD decreased by 0.1–0.2 points in four programmes and remained unchanged in two programmes. Four programmes collected long-term follow-up data at 6 months. This was often limited because of participant dropout. Improvement in diet and exercise were reported by participants in all programmes which measured these behaviours.

Conclusions  Ongoing evaluation of all programmes, using a standard approach, is essential in order to improve the evidence base and support future commissioning.