MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Elsie M. Taveras, MD, MPH
Ofer and Shelly Nemirovsky MGH Research Scholar
Chief, Division of General Academic Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics
Mass General Hospital for Children
Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: We designed this study to test the effectiveness of two interventions that linked clinical and community approaches in improving childhood body mass index (BMI) and obesity prevalence. Another important question we set out to understand was whether there were outcomes aside from BMI and obesity that mattered most to families of children with obesity.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Our primary findings were that the two interventions we tested, which both included a package of high-quality clinical care for obesity and linkages to community resources, resulted in improvements in child BMI. We also found that the interventions led to a greater sense of parental empowerment in addressing their child’s weight problem and that the coaching intervention in particular was associated with improved quality of life among the children – an outcome that was very important to parents in our study and to our parent & youth advisory board.
These findings are important because we can now offer two approaches to obesity management that are proven to arrest gain in excess BMI and that can be widely adopted by primary care health systems to benefit the many children in the US with obesity.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our findings are pretty conclusive that there are three aspects on childhood obesity interventions that work for children with overweight or obesity:
(1) improve clinical practices for obesity management;
(2) engage and support families in behavior change; and
(3) link families to community resources to further support weight management.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Two future directions that we are pursuing in my own research team are:
(1) developing family-based interventions that start working with children younger than 2 years of age to support prevention before obesity sets in; and
(2) developing evidence-based, more aggressive weight management approaches for children with the most severe obesity.
The first of these is already in the works. We are fielding an intervention right now working with mothers during pregnancy and through their child’s 2nd birthday to prevent the development of obesity-related risk factors. For the second we are working to build a strong team of parents, clinicians, community members, and researchers to assist in co-creating an intervention for children with severe obesity.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Taveras EM, Marshall R, Sharifi M, Avalon E, Fiechtner L, Horan C, Gerber MW, Orav EJ, Price SN, Sequist T, Slater D. Comparative Effectiveness of Clinical-Community Childhood Obesity InterventionsA Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Pediatr. Published online June 05, 2017e171325. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.1325
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