Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not a parent-focused intervention is more effective than a child-focused approach in treating childhood obesity.

STUDY DESIGN: This review consists of three randomized controlled trials published in the English language between the years 2004 and 2010.

DATA SOURCES: Data sources were articles published in peer reviewed journals comparing parent-focused intervention as a treatment of childhood obesity compared to a child-focused approach found using Cochrane and PubMed databases.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: The outcomes measured were the child’s obesity status and quality of life. These outcomes were measured using a standard medical scale and rigid height rod for height and weight and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory to measure quality of life.

RESULTS: All three studies showed a significant decrease in the obesity status in children ages 4-12 diagnosed with obesity and their quality of life. Golan et al showed significant weight loss results 1, 2, and 7 years after conclusion of the study in the parent-only group vs child-only group (p=< 0.05, p=< 0.01, p=< 0.05, respectively). Yackobovitch-Gavan also showed significant results in BMI reduction and in overall BMI decrease in parents who were involved versus those who were not. (p=0.048, p=0.031, respectively). Lastly, West et al had significant BMI reduction in the intervention group compared to the control group. (-0.11, p=< 0.05)

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the RCTs and comparing weights of obese children before and after the implemented interventions show that a parent-focused health care approach is an effective treatment in childhood obesity. The inclusion of parents in the intervention of their children’s health resulted in weight reduction, BMI improvement, and improvement in quality of life. Further research is needed in order to determine the exact type of parental involvement that can maximize weight loss and provide patients with the best quality of life.