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Pediatric Weight Management

PWM: Family Interventions: Comparing Treatment Formats (2006)

Family Interventions: Comparing Treatment Formats for Pediatric Obesity

There are many ways of involving the family in the treatment of pediatric obesity.

In conducting the evidence analysis, the overarching question of the work group was:

Which of these treatment formats is most effective in treating pediatric obesity?

The work group did not assume, however, that one format worked best for all age youth. So, the work group differentiated the evidence according to three age groups:

  • young children (age 2-5)
  • children (6-12)
  • adolescents (13-18)

A Framework for Comparison

The workgroup determined that, because of the complexity of interventions for pediatric obesity, they would only examine research that directly compared two or more of these treatment formats. The table below provides an overview of the research the work group identified and the treatment format comparisons examined.

As the table makes clear, the research directly comparing different family treatment formats is both limited and dated. Even though advances in the treatment of pediatric obesity has progressed over the past decade, research comparing different family intervention formats in randomized controlled studies has not been widely published.

Direct Comparisons of Treatment Formats Found in the Research



Parent only

Child and parent separate

Child and parent together

Child and parent mixed

Child only

Golan M, Crow S. 2004

Golan, Weizman et al 1998

Brownell KD, Kelman JH et al 1983

Coates TJ, Killen JD et al 1982

Wadden, T., Stunkard, A. et al 1990

Brownell KD, Kelman JH et al 1983

Flodmark, Ohlsson et al 1995

Kirschenbaum, Harris et al 1984

Wadden, T., Stunkard, A. et al 1990

Epstein LH, Valoski A, Wing RR, McCurley J. 1994: Study 1

Child and parent together


Brownell KD, Kelman JH et al 1983

Wadden, T., Stunkard, A. et al 1990



To see the evidence analysis comparing the different treatment formats, click on one of the topics in the left navigation bar.