Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
U.S. Teachers Often Faced Harassment, Violence During Pandemic: PollOmicron Wave Had 5 Times as Many Small Kids Hospitalized Compared to DeltaSuicide Rate Is Spiking Upwards in Preadolescent ChildrenAHA News: Bystander CPR on Kids Differs by Race and EthnicityMental Health of America's Children Only Getting WorseTalking to Your Kids About the War in UkraineOdds for Mental Illness Rise in Kids After ConcussionPfizer Begins Trial of COVID Drug Paxlovid in Kids 6 to 17Pfizer Vaccine Much Less Potent in Kids Aged 5-11COVID Has Robbed 5.2 Million Children Worldwide of Parent, CaregiverNew Drug May Help Curb COVID-Linked Inflammatory Disorder in KidsPoll Finds Most Parents Would Use CBD to Treat a Child — Is That Wise?Does Your Child Have Asthma? Look for the SignsResearch May Help Focus Treatment for Kids With Cystic FibrosisSleepless Children Often Become Sleepless Adults: StudyA Healthy Mouth Could Be a Lifesaver for Kids With Heart ConditionsSeasonal Flu Shots Give Kids Broader Protection Against New StrainsU.S. Kids Still Dying From Toppling TVs, FurnitureKids With COVID-Linked MIS-C Have Long-Term SymptomsAHA News: Amid a National Mental Health Crisis For Kids, Here's How Parents Can HelpParents: What You Need to Know About Kids & COVID-19Getting Active Soon After Concussion May Aid Kids' RecoveryPfizer Asks FDA to Approve Its Vaccine for Youngest KidsThe 'Oreo Test' and Other Ways to Help Kids' Oral HealthPfizer Will Ask FDA to Approve Its COVID Vaccine for Kids Under 5More Than 1 Million U.S. Kids Diagnosed With COVID in Single WeekPandemic Especially Tough on Kids With ADHDBrain Implant for Adults With Epilepsy Can Help Kids, TooCOVID Can Affect Brains of Hospitalized KidsMany Kids Aren't Wearing Helmets While Sledding, Poll FindsMany Marijuana Vendors Aim Advertising at Kids: StudyHeart Function Rebounds for Kids With COVID-Linked MIS-CWhich Kids Are Most Vulnerable to Severe COVID-19?At-Home COVID Tests Accurate for Ki​ds: StudyCDC Study Shows Power of Flu Vaccine for KidsCOVID Hospitalizations Rising in Kids Too Young for VaccineNearly 600,000 U.S. Kids Had COVID Last WeekWhite House to Give Schools 10 Million Free COVID Tests Every MonthKids' Behavior Worsened With Remote Learning: StudyLater School Start Times Boost Parents' Health, TooUrban Air Pollution Drives Millions of Cases of Asthma in KidsCDC Backs Boosters for High-Risk Kids Aged 5-11, Shorter Time Between ShotsA Better Way to Correct Severe Scoliosis in Kids?Getting Your Child Their Vaccine?  Some Tips on Easing Needle FearsU.S. Hospitals Seeing Record Numbers of Young COVID PatientsSevere Illness in Children Brings Hardship for FamiliesReal-World Data Confirms Pfizer Vaccine Safe for Kids Ages 5-11Family Factors Affect Child's Odds for Cleft PalateAs Omicron Spreads, Child Hospitalizations Climb 30% in Past WeekNew Clues to Sudden Unexplained Deaths in Young Kids
Related Topics

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)

AHA News: Family-Based Programs Targeting Childhood Obesity Can Be Good for Parents, Too

HealthDay News
by American Heart Association News
Updated: Nov 17th 2021

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 17, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- Family-based programs to encourage healthier eating and physical activity have long been regarded as an effective way to put children diagnosed as overweight or with obesity on a path to a better future.

But new research suggests an added dividend: Parents of those children can benefit as well.

"It is known that parental involvement favorably affects children's weight management," said the study's lead researcher Nirupa Matthan, a scientist at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. "We wanted to see if there is a spillover effect on the diet quality and cardiometabolic health outcomes of the parents, and for the first time we showed that the answer is yes."

Matthan presented her findings this past weekend at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions virtual conference. The work is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The analysis drew on data from a clinical trial of several hundred children in the Bronx who participated in a one-year weight management program with a combination of doctor's care, nutrition education, group support sessions and physical activity strategies involving both the child and their parent. Matthan and colleagues have previously reported that children participating in the comprehensive family-based program adopted healthier eating patterns and modestly improved their body weight and some other health measures.

But Matthan didn't want to stop there.

"I was interested in finding out whether the parents just support the children or are they actually changing their behavior and serving as role models," she said. "If they are, you should see an improvement in the parents' weight as well as the parents' health outcomes."

Obesity, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, is a growing problem for Americans at every age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19.3% of children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 – about 14.4 million – were obese in 2018. That same year, 42.4% of adults were, up from 30.5% two decades earlier.

The analysis didn't just include weight and body mass index before and after the year-long program. The researchers also checked blood pressure and took blood samples from children and the parents, yielding biomarkers for diet quality as well as blood sugar and cholesterol for a more detailed health assessment.

In her follow-up study, Matthan divided the children into three groups based on weight change: those who made significant improvement, those who had little or no change, and those whose results were worse. In all three groups, she said, the parents' results mirrored their children's, particularly in the group that showed the most improvement.

"Obesity runs in families," Matthan said. "But we tend to treat children and adults separately. If you do this family-based approach, you can target both, and that's where you'll have the most public health impact."

Myles Faith, a professor of counseling, school and educational psychology at the University at Buffalo - The State University of New York, called the study "novel and exciting," particularly because it examined risk factors beyond weight that can lead to heart disease.

"It's one of the first to look at parent-child relationships specifically focusing on cardiometabolic risk factors and studying it as a family relationship in response to treatment," said Faith, who was not involved in the research. "These data strongly support the need for family-based interventions."

Faith helped write a 2020 AHA scientific statement that gives parents and adult caregivers strategies to create a healthy food environment for young children that doesn't focus on weight. It encouraged allowing kids to pick what foods they want to eat from a selection of healthy foods; eating new, healthy foods with children and showing you enjoy the food; having meals at consistent times; and not pressuring kids to eat more than they want.

"We think of the parents as the agent of change for the child," Faith said. The new research "shows it can go the other way, too. Children can inspire their parents as well to up their game and make the changes themselves. It's a win for the whole family."

American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email

By Michael Precker

328 W. Claiborne St.
P.O. Box 964
Alabama 36460
Tel: (251)575-4203

powered by centersite dot net