Treating obesity in childhood: behavioral considerations

Fiona Davies, Louise A. Baur*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There is strong evidence that the inclusion of behavioral interventions in childhood obesity treatment results in better outcomes than usual care, and should be a key component in treatment programs. The core behavioral interventions which have been used in treatment of childhood obesity include self-monitoring, stimulus control, reinforcement, goal setting, behavioral contracting, and preplanning. These techniques are best used in a program which includes the whole of the family, and where parents are taught behavioral change techniques and also change their own behavior. Training in behavioral techniques should be considered for all health professionals involved in obesity treatment, as should the involvement of psychologically trained health professionals. Despite these advances, many questions remain to be answered. These include which particular behavioral change techniques work best, under what conditions, with which patients, and at what stage in treatment. Additionally, the impact of patient factors (such as child and family characteristics) and treatment factors (such as service quality, health professional characteristics, timing of treatment, etc.) on treatment outcome are not well understood at this stage. A greater understanding of these remaining questions would benefit clinicians in deciding the best treatment approach for their particular patient group.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of behavior, food and nutrition
EditorsVR Preedy, RR Watson, CR Martin
Place of PublicationNew York, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780387922713
ISBN (Print)9780387922706
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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