Psychosocial Variables Affect Weight Loss in Children

Insecure attachment attitudes, depression, psychosocial family risks predict weight loss failure

MONDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Children's long-term failure in weight reduction can be predicted by maternal insecure attachment attitudes, maternal depression, and psychosocial family risks, according to a study published online Sept. 12 in Pediatrics.

Georg Fröhlich, M.D., from the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen in Germany, and colleagues investigated associations between family adversity, maternal depression, and attachment insecurity and the long-term success of weight reduction in 111 parent-child dyads with obese or overweight children (body mass index mean: 29.07 kg/m²) between the ages of 7 and 15 years. The participating families attended a one-year best-practice lifestyle intervention followed by a longitudinal analysis with three assessment waves (baseline, conclusion, one-year follow-up).

The investigators found that after controlling for familial obesity, preintervention overweight, age, gender of the child, and parental educational level, psychosocial variables (family adversity, maternal depression, and attachment insecurity) significantly predicted long-term success (at least 5 percent weight reduction by the one year follow-up) versus failure (dropping out or less weight reduction). Maternal depression was the best predictor. The same set of variables also predicted weight reduction maintenance between the conclusion of the program and the one-year follow-up. Maternal insecure-anxious attachment attitude was the best predictor for this trend.

"The results of this study reveal that maternal insecure attachment attitudes, maternal depression, and psychosocial family risks predict long-term failure in weight reduction," the authors write.

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