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Impact of a child obesity intervention on dietary intake and behaviors



The aims of this study were to describe the dietary intakes and food behavior changes of overweight and obese children participating in the Hunter Illawarra Kids Challenge Using Parent Support (HIKCUPS) study and to describe the impact of a best practice dietary modification program.


A multicenter randomized controlled trial with allocation to one of three intervention arms: (1) parent-centered nutrition lifestyle program; (2) child-centered physical activity skill development program; or (3) both the programs.


One hundred and sixty-five overweight, pre-pubertal children 5–9 years of age (58% female).


Dietary intake was assessed at baseline, 6 and 12 months post-commencement of the program using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire.


After 6 and 12 months, all groups improved their dietary intake, with no differences detected between groups (P>0.05). Total quantity of food (g) and kJ kg−1 decreased significantly at both time points (P<0.05). Percent energy derived from core food groups, except fruit, increased significantly at 12 months compared to baseline (P<0.05), and non-core foods decreased, with the largest decreases being for sweetened drinks (5.0±0.4 vs 2.9±0.3% of energy baseline to 12 months, P<0.001) and packaged lunch box snacks (5.4±0.3 vs 4.1±0.3% of energy baseline to 12 months, P<0.001).


All treatment groups in the HIKCUPS study appear to be equally efficacious in improving dietary intake in overweight and obese children.

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HIKCUPS is funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (354101). We would like to thank participating children and parents, local schools in the Hunter and Illawarra regions of New South Wales and the Universities of Wollongong and Newcastle. We would also like to thank Sanitarium Health Food Company for supplying the breakfast cereal for the assessments.

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Correspondence to C E Collins.

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Address of institutions at which the work was carried out: University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW 2308, Australia; University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia.

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Burrows, T., Warren, J., Baur, L. et al. Impact of a child obesity intervention on dietary intake and behaviors. Int J Obes 32, 1481–1488 (2008).

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