Clinic and Home-Based Behavioral Intervention for Obesity in Preschoolers: A Randomized Trial

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Abstract

Objective

To test the hypotheses that an innovative skills-based behavioral family clinic and home-based intervention (LAUNCH) would reduce body mass index z score (BMIz) compared with motivational interviewing and to standard care in preschool-aged children with obesity.

Study design

Randomized controlled trial with children between the ages of 2 and 5 years above the 95th percentile for body mass index for age and sex recruited from 27 pediatrician offices across 10 recruitment cycles between March 12, 2012 and June 8, 2015. Children were randomized to LAUNCH (an 18-session clinic and home-based behavioral intervention), motivational interviewing (delivered at the same frequency as LAUNCH), or standard care (no formal intervention). Weight and height were measured by assessors blinded to participant assignment. The primary outcome, BMIz at month 6 after adjusting for baseline BMIz, was tested separately comparing LAUNCH with motivational interviewing and LAUNCH with standard care using regression-based analysis of covariance models.

Results

A total of 151 of the 167 children randomized met intent-to-treat criteria and 92% completed the study. Children were 76% White and 57% female, with an average age of 55 months and BMI percentile of 98.57, with no demographic differences between the groups. LAUNCH participants demonstrated a significantly greater decrease in BMIz (mean = −0.32, SD = ±0.33) compared with motivational interviewing (mean = −0.05, SD = ±0.27), P < .001, ω2 = 0.74 and compared with standard care (mean = −0.13, SD = ±0.31), P < .004, ω2 = 0.75.

Conclusions

In preschool-age children, an intensive 6-month behavioral skills-based intervention is necessary to reduce obesity.

Trial Registration

Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01546727.

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