Researchers have found that home-based weight management programmes may be beneficial for both kids as well as parents.
The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, found that the DRIVE curriculum — Developing Relationships that Include Values of Eating and Exercise — reduces weight gain in kids and also prompts their parents to lose weight.
“Parents are the most important and influential people in a child’s environment,” said study researchers Keely Hawkins and Corby K. Martin from Louisiana State University in the US.
For the study, 16 families were examined based on their child’s obesity risks for over 19 weeks. Kids aged 2-6 years, and with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 75 per cent were enrolled. Families were randomly assigned to receive health information only or DRIVE intervention.
Children in the DRIVE intervention sessions – which included establishing regular snack and meal times, reducing screen time, and encouraging physically active play – maintained their body weight with a modest reduction in BMI. Additionally, parents who participated in the DRIVE sessions also decreased their body weight.
But the children who received only health education, significantly increased their body weight and BMI.
“Our results showed that at the half-way point of the study, children were becoming healthier. Changes in the health of the parents, though, did not happen until the end of the study. This points to the need for long-term, family-based programmes to support behaviour change,” the researchers added.