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Pediatrics

Pediatric weight management interventions improve prevalence of overeating behaviors

Abstract

Objective

To examine changes in prevalence of overeating behaviors in a comparative effectiveness study of two pediatric weight management interventions.

Methods

Four-hundred and seven children, ages 6–12 years, with a BMI ≥ 85th percentile were enrolled in a comparative effectiveness trial of two pediatric weight management interventions. Prevalence of “sneaking, hiding or hoarding food”, and ‘eating in the absence of hunger’ was evaluated at baseline and 12 months. Statistical methods included McNemar’s test and longitudinal logistic regression.

Results

Prevalence of “sneak, hide, or hoard food” significantly decreased in all participants from 29.1% to 20.7% at 12 months. The prevalence of “eating in the absence of hunger” decreased in all participants from 46.7% to 22.4% at 12 months. Use of SNAP benefits, free/reduced meals at school, parental stress, housing, and food insecurity at baseline were associated with an increased likelihood of endorsing overeating behaviors at 12 months. Conversely, those who engaged in at least one session of the pediatric weight management intervention were significantly less likely to endorse “eating in the absence of hunger” at 12 months.

Conclusions

Participation in pediatric weight management interventions improves the prevalence of overeating behaviors and is associated with participant engagement and social determinants of health, specifically food security status. Efforts to engage populations impacted by food insecurity and other social determinants of health risk factors will be critical for success of weight management interventions.

Clinical trial registration

This trial has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (identifier: NCT03012126).

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Award no.: U18DP006259). Dr Fiechtner is supported by grant number K23HD090222 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Dr Harshman is supported by grant number F32MH118824 from the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr Taveras is supported by grant K24 DK10589 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control, or the National Institutes of Health.

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LF and ET were involved in all parts of the study, including study concept and design, obtaining funding, data collection, analysis, and writing of manuscript; MP was involved in administrative, technical, and material support of the study as well as design of the analysis; ML conducted the data analysis, SGH and SP, KBM, HC, IC, and BR were involved in the data analysis plan development and execution, and manuscript preparation; all authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

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Correspondence to Stephanie G. Harshman.

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Harshman, S.G., Castro, I., Perkins, M. et al. Pediatric weight management interventions improve prevalence of overeating behaviors. Int J Obes 46, 630–636 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-021-00989-x

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