Esben Thyssen Vestergaard

Sustainable weight loss over three years in children with obesity: a pragmatic family-centered lifestyle intervention

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Introduction: Childhood obesity has psychological consequences and increases the risk of continuous obesity into adulthood, associated with development of non-communicable disease (e.g. type 2 diabetes). Short-term weight loss intervention studies show good results but long-term studies are limited. Methods: One hundred ninety-nine obese children (4–18 years of age), with a BMI-SDS (standard deviation score) above + 2 SDS were enrolled into a multifactorial family-centered lifestyle intervention study. The children had yearly visits in the outpatient clinic for anthropometrics, blood samples and DXA-scans, and 6–8 meeting with community health workers between these visits. The children followed the intervention up to 3 years. Results: After a follow-up of 26.7 ± 17.5 months a reduction in BMI-SDS of − 0.25 SDS (p < 0.001) was observed. The 57 children who were adherent to the intervention for ≥ 2 years had significantly reduced BMI-SDS compared to the 142 children with shorter intervention (BMI-SDS: − 0.38 ± 0.67 vs. − 0.20 ± 0.50, p = 0.036). All weight loss was accompanied by decrease in fat mass and increase in muscle mass (p < 0.001). Conclusion: The intervention was found to induce long-term reduction in BMI-SDS in obese children, with beneficial change in body composition. Children who followed the intervention the longest had the greatest reduction in BMI-SDS. Level of evidence: Level III, longitudinal cohort study.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Pages (from-to)537-545
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

    Research areas

  • Body composition, Children, Lifestyle intervention, Long-term, Obesity, Weight loss

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