(HealthDay News) — Using a behavioral intervention to target preschool-aged overweight children and their parents is efficacious for both children and parents, according to a study published online in Pediatrics.

Teresa Quattrin, MD, from the University at Buffalo in New York, and colleagues tested the effect of a behavioral intervention that targeted an overweight child and parent vs. an information control targeting weight control only in the child.

A cohort of 96 children aged 2 to 5 years with a BMI ≥85th percentile and an overweight parent were randomly allocated to the intervention (n=46) or information control (n=50). In both groups, children received diet and activity education over 12 months, and then 12 months of follow-up. In the intervention group, parents were also targeted for weight control and received a behavioral intervention.

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The researchers found that, throughout treatment and follow-up, children in the intervention group experienced greater reductions in percent over BMI (P=.002) and z-BMI (P<.001) compared with controls.

Over time, there was a greater reduction in BMI noted for parents in the intervention group vs. the control group throughout treatment and follow-up (P<.001). At 12 and 24 months, there was a correlation between child weight changes and parent weight changes (r=0.38 [P<.001] and 0.26 [P=.03], respectively).

“Concurrently targeting preschool-aged overweight and obese youth and their parents in primary care with behavioral intervention results in greater decreases in child percent over BMI, z-BMI, and parent BMI compared with information control,” the researchers wrote.

One researcher disclosed financial ties to Kurbo, which provides online support for pediatric weight control.


  1. Quattrin T et al. Pediatrics. 2014;doi:10.1542/peds.2013-4084.