Weight loss

Two interventions help improve weight management in children with overweight or obesity

Two interventions that link medical care with group assets helped improve key health measures in children with overweight or obesity on the outset of the research. As reported in JAMA Pediatrics, each packages – developed by investigators at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a follow of Atrius Health – not solely improved physique mass index (BMI) in members but in addition elevated mother and father’ sense that that they had the knowledge and assets to deal with their kid’s weight drawback.

“More and more we recognize that, if we don’t assist families in tackling the social and environmental conditions that impede their ability to make changes to their obesity-related behaviors, we will not be successful in pediatric weight management,” says Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, chief of General Pediatrics at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, who led the research. “To help us create our interventions we looked to families with children who had managed to improve their BMI, often under challenging environmental and social settings. These “constructive outlier” families provided guidance on the content of health coaching, available resources in the community, language to use in motivating other families to change and the importance of building parents’ confidence in taking on the challenge of reducing their child’s excess weight.”

The Connect four Health trial was carried out from June 2014 via March 2016 at six Harvard Vanguard pediatric practices in the Boston space and enrolled 721 children, ages 2 by way of 12, with a BMI in the overweight or overweight vary. Participants have been randomly assigned to one among two interventions – enhanced main care or enhanced main care plus teaching.

Parents of these in each teams acquired instructional supplies specializing in key objectives – reducing display time and consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, enhancing weight-reduction plan high quality, growing average or vigorous bodily exercise, enhancing the standard and period of sleep, and selling social and emotional wellness. The enhanced main care intervention – incorporating practices launched at Harvard Vanguard in current years – included month-to-month textual content message to oldsters with hyperlinks to publicly out there assets to help behavioral change and a Neighborhood Resource Guide itemizing supportive amenities in their communities.

Parents of children in the improved main care plus teaching group have been contacted each different month – both over the telephone, by way of videoconference or in individual – by specifically educated health coaches who offered individualized help by means of motivational interviewing, dialogue of methods for addressing and managing obesity danger elements, and identification of supportive assets in households’ communities. Parents in the teaching teams additionally acquired further instructional supplies after every teaching session and twice-weekly textual content messages or emails. Families have been provided a free, one-month household membership in native YMCAs and invited to attend a program on healthy grocery purchasing.

“Combatting obesity is an enormous challenge in pediatrics and identifying tools that are proven to make a difference in the health and well-being of our patients is essential,” says co-author Daniel H. Slater, MD, chairman of Pediatrics at Atrius Health. “Our collaboration with Dr. Taveras’ team and Connect 4 Health has been extremely rewarding and builds on the work that we have done together for more than a decade. Improvements – which include the electronic health record flagging of children with an unhealthy BMI, clinical decision support tools to help clinicians provide high quality care, and educational materials for parents to support self-guided behavior change – have all laid the groundwork for the two interventions tested in this study. It is gratifying to see that we can make a difference and improve our patients’ health as well as their quality of life.”

Along with evaluating members’ BMI z scores – an age-specific measure used for children – originally and finish of the one-year research interval, the investigators surveyed mother and father relating to their kid’s health-related high quality of life and their very own sense of empowerment in managing their kid’s weight. At the top of the research mother and father have been additionally requested whether or not they had acquired and have been glad with research messages and supplies and the way their participation in this system affected their satisfaction with their kid’s health providers.

In basic, members in each teams had improved BMI z scores on the finish of the research interval, with barely larger enchancment amongst these in the improved main care plus teaching group. Comparisons with measurements taken a yr earlier than the outset of the research indicated that these reductions didn’t mirror earlier developments in the direction of a decrease BMI; in reality, each teams had confirmed developments towards growing BMI in the yr earlier than the research.

Parents of children in the improved main care plus teaching group reported vital enhancements in the kid’s health-related high quality of life and fogeys in each teams reported an elevated sense of empowerment. Most mother and father reported receiving and being glad with textual content messages and the Neighborhood Resource Guide, and satisfaction with the extra providers offered to the teaching group was additionally excessive. Overall, 63 % of oldsters in the improved main care plus teaching group and 48 % of these in the improve care group felt their participation in this system elevated their satisfaction with their kid’s health care providers.


Study co-author Earlene Avalon, PhD, MPH, who chaired the Youth and Parental Advisory Board that helped create the 2 packages, says. “This is such a relevant and important study because it takes a multi-pronged approach – not only looking at what the experts in the field are saying, but also asking people who walk the walk and deal with this daily to be architects of interventions and programs to tackle obesity. It is essential to consult people who have been successful and help them feel empowered to contribute and share best practices. To promote the diversity of opinions we seek, we have to go above and beyond solely consulting the literature for true creativity and innovation to occur.” Avalon is on the employees of Boston Children’s Hospital and is an assistant professor of Health Management and Health Science at Northeastern University.

Taveras, a professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, says, “Our findings are pretty conclusive that there are three aspects of interventions for childhood obesity that work: improving clinical practices for obesity management; engaging and supporting families in behavior change; and linking families to community resources for further support. We’re now testing a family-based intervention that starts working with mothers in pregnancy and their children ages 2 and under to support prevention and developing more aggressive weight management approaches for children with the most severe obesity, for whom the interventions in this study were not successful.”

Article: Comparative Effectiveness of Clinical-Community Childhood Obesity Interventions A Randomized Clinical Trial, Elsie M. Taveras, MD, MPH et al., JAMA Pediatrics, doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.1325, revealed on-line 5 June 2017.


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