Childhood obesity and co-morbid problems: effects of Epstein's family-based behavioural treatment in an Icelandic sample.
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CitationJ Eval Clin Pract 2012, 18(2):465-72
AbstractThis study assessed the effects of Epstein's family-based behavioural treatment in a clinical sample of obese children in Iceland. Also, it explored whether co-morbid concerns affect treatment outcome. Eighty-four obese children [mean body-mass-index standard-deviation-scores (BMI-SDS) = 3.11, aged 7.5-13.6 years] and a participating parent initiated treatment in response to a school-based screening. Sixty-one families completed treatment and were followed for 1 year post treatment. Measurements included height, weight, reports of psychological well-being (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children, Children's Depression Inventory, Piers-Harris Self Concept Scale, Social Skills Rating System) and academic competencies. Among treatment completers a large effect size was obtained for change in BMI-SDS during treatment (mean difference = -0.40, SD = 0.29). Psychological well-being improved and treatment effects were maintained at 1-year follow-up. At baseline, 69% of the children presented with one or more co-morbid concerns. Children who scored above cut-off for concern on parent-reported hyperactivity (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire subscale T-score ≥ 65) reduced their BMI-SDS less during treatment than children with lower hyperactivity scores whereas children who scored in the clinical range for social anxiety (Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children subscale T-score ≥ 65) reduced their BMI-SDS significantly more than children with lower social anxiety scores. The social anxiety effect was still present at 1-year follow-up, but not the hyperactivity effect (P > 0.05). No differential response was shown for children with higher depression scores, lower self-concept or low academic competencies. Epstein's family-based behavioural treatment produced promising effects in both the short and the longer term in a clinical sample of Icelandic children with substantial rates of co-morbid concerns. Co-morbid problems affect outcome and tailoring treatment to address co-morbid concerns might improve outcomes for certain subgroups.
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