Family Obesity Approach Promising for Black Girls

Promising effects on weight-related behaviors; but across studies, effect is often nonsignificant

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity interventions that include family involvement may be a promising approach for targeting African-American girls, but more research is required, according to the results of a systematic literature review published online Oct. 12 in Obesity Reviews.

Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and colleagues conducted a systemic review of 27 obesity pilot or full-length prevention or treatment studies which included some degree of family involvement and were specific to African-American girls.

The studies reviewed included family-based interventions such as physical activity, eating/nutrition, or weight change components, and most of the interventions targeted parent-child dyads. The researchers found that, across all studies, there were promising effects on weight-related behaviors, but these were often nonsignificant. The results were similar for weight-related outcomes in the full-length randomized controlled trials.

"Many strategies appeared promising on face value, but available data did not permit inferences about whether or how best to involve family members in obesity prevention and treatment interventions with African-American girls," the authors write. "Study designs that directly compare different types and levels of family involvement and incorporate relevant theoretical elements may be an important next step."

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