Risk factors for poor attendance in a family-based pediatric obesity intervention program for young children

Natalie A. Williams, MacE Coday, Grant Somes, Frances A. Tylavsky, Phyllis A. Richey, Marion Hare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the role of demographic characteristics, psychological factors, and family functioning on attendance in a randomized controlled trial of a family-based pediatric obesity program. Method: Participants included 155 children between the ages of 4 and 7 years (M age = 5.77, 57.4% female, 73.6% black, M body mass index = 25.5) and their primary caregivers who were randomized to the treatment group. Three groups of participants were created based on their patterns of attendance during the program: (1) noncompleters, (2) partial completers, and (3) completers. Results: Results indicated no differences among the attendance groups in child gender, child body mass index, or child psychological functioning. Significant group differences were found with respect to race/ethnicity, parent marital status, and family income, such that noncompleters were more likely to be racial/ethnic minorities, to living in single parent households, and to have lower incomes than partial completers and completers. After controlling for the effects of these sociodemographic risk factors, noncompleters, and partial completers reported more family dysfunction characterized by high levels of disengagement than completers. Conclusion: Adapting existing weight management programs to include a focus on family engagement in the early stages of treatment may help to improve participation in family-based obesity interventions targeting high risk, socioeconomically disadvantaged youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-712
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood obesity
  • family-based intervention.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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