Behavioral counseling insufficient for obesity prevention in girls

January 01, 0001

Behavioral counseling insufficient for obesity prevention in girls

This study by US investigators was to determine the efficacy of a 2-year obesity prevention program in African American girls in a randomized controlled trial design. Girls included were aged 8 to 10 years (N = 303), identified by a parent or guardian as African American, and had a body mass index (BMI) at or higher than the 25th percentile for age or 1 parent with a BMI of 25 or higher. Interventions consisted of group behavioral counseling to promote healthy eating and increased physical activity (obesity prevention program) or self-esteem and social efficacy (control intervention).

They found: "The BMI increased in all girls with no treatment effect (obesity prevention minus alternative intervention) at 2 years. Two-year treatment effects in the expected direction were observed for servings per day of sweetened beverages (mean, -0.19), water (mean, 0.21), and vegetables (mean, 0.15), but there were no effects on physical activity. Post hoc analyses suggested a treatment effect in younger girls. The mean BMI difference at 2 years was -2.41 in girls initially aged 8 years and -1.02 in those initially aged 10 years."

The authors concluded: "The lack of significant BMI change at 2 years indicates that this intervention alone is insufficient for obesity prevention. Effectiveness may require more explicit behavior change goals and a stronger physical activity component as well as supportive changes in environmental contexts."

I would place my bet on the need for changes in environmental contexts.

For the full abstract, click here.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 164(11):1007-1014, November 2010
© 2010 to the American Medical Association
The Memphis Girls' health Enrichment Multi-site Studies (GEMS)-An Evaluation of the Efficacy of a 2-Year Obesity Prevention Program in African American Girls. Robert C. Klesges, Eva Obarzanek, Shiriki Kumanyika, et al. Correspondence to Dr. Klesges: [email protected]

Category: T. Endocrine/Metabolic/Nutritional, P Psychological. Keywords: obesity, prevention, girls, behavioral counseling, randomized controlled trial, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Linda French, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 16 November 2010

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