Family-based behavioural treatment of obesity: acceptability and effectiveness in the UK

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To assess the acceptability and impact of family-based behavioural treatment (FBBT) for childhood obesity in a clinical setting in the UK.


Pre- and post-treatment assessment for four consecutive treatment groups.


Treatment groups took place at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.


Participants were 33 families with obese (BMI ≥98th centile for age and sex) children aged 8-13 years.


FBBT was delivered over 12 sessions.

Main outcome measures:

Overweight (percentage BMI), self-esteem, mood and eating attitudes were assessed before and after treatment; overweight was re-assessed at 3-month follow-up for those who completed treatment.


The FBBT programme materials translated easily to the UK setting and the programme was well-liked by participants. Twenty-seven out of 33 families (82%) completed the sessions. Children lost 8.4% BMI over the time of treatment, and this was maintained at 3-month follow-up. Self-esteem and depression improved significantly and there was no change in food preoccupation, anorexia or bulimia on the ChEAT.


These results establish that FBBT is feasible and acceptable in a clinical setting in Britain. They indicate that significant loss of overweight can be achieved using the programme without adverse psychological consequences.

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