Family-based interventions for childhood obesity: A review

Diane Berry, Rebecca Sheehan, Rhonda Heschel, Kathleen Knafl, Gail Melkus, Margaret Grey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The purpose of this article is to critically evaluate the evidence related to family-based interventions designed to treat childhood obesity. A MEDLINE, PSYCLIT, and CINAHL search identified articles published between January 1980 and January 2004 relating to family-based interventions. Thirteen studies were included, and all of the interventions used nutrition education, exercise, and behavioral interventions, including behavioral modification, behavioral therapy, or problem solving. Behavioral modification interventions targeted children and parents together or separately and were reported to be successful in improving weight-loss outcomes in both parents and children. Behavioral therapy interventions targeting children and parents together or the parents of children separately improved weight outcomes. Problem-solving interventions that targeted parents of children showed improved weight outcomes for their children. However, when problem solving was used with both parents and children together or children alone, weight outcomes did not improve. A majority of the studies have some methodological weaknesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-449
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Family Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004


  • Child
  • Family
  • Intervention
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Family Practice


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