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Abstract

Children that are classified as obese (body mass index (BMI) > 95th percentile for age and sex, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have an increased risk for metabolic and cardiovascular complications. Family based programs that focus on physical activity (PA) and healthy eating are recommended for treatment of pediatric obesity. The purpose of the current study is to determine the outcomes of Building Healthy Families (BHF), a family-based pediatric weight loss treatment program composed of nutrition, physical activity and behavioral modification strategies. In addition, mediating variables that are associated with weight loss in children, in order to enhance the retention and success of this program will be identified. Twenty-two obese (>95th percentile BMI) children (age: 9.94 ± 1.58 yrs) volunteered to participate. Children and their parents (20 moms, 20 dads, 68% obese; BMI > 30 kg•m‾²) participated in weekly nutrition education, family lifestyle PA, and one-on-one meetings with a behavioral psychologist. Overall, child participants lost an average of 2.3 ± 2.0 kg of body mass in 12 weeks while parents lost 6.4 ± 4.3 kg of their body mass. There was a significant inverse association between percentage of program goals met and weight loss (r = -0.67, p < 0.05). Decreases in the child participants intake of high fat, high calorie foods significantly predicted weight change (R2=0.98, p<0.05). In conclusion, family based pediatric obesity programs may offer significant benefits and lead to healthier lifestyles for obese children and their parents.