179031 Treatment Efficacy for Pediatric Obesity and Ethnic Disparities

Monday, October 27, 2008: 10:30 AM

Danusia Nedilskyj, MA , Department of Psychology/School of Science and Technology, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Jamie Pivonka-Jones, PhD , Kids Fare, Psychology and Pediatrics, Loma Linda University and Children's Hospital, Loma Linda, CA
Kiti Freier Randall, PhD , Kids Fare, Psychology and Pediatrics, Loma Linda University and Children's Hospital, Loma Linda, CA
Kim Y. Hamai, MD , Department of Pediatrics/School of Medicine, Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, Loma Linda, CA
Introduction: Childhood obesity has become a public health crisis. Currently, minimal evidence exists for treatment efficacy of ethnic obese children who are at risk for psychopathology. This study was conducted in an outpatient community-based pediatric obesity treatment program aiming to increase health-promoting behaviors such as exercise, proper nutrition habits, and adaptive psycho-social behavior. Methods: Study measures were part of routine care in the program and included a medical and psychosocial evaluation. Psychological assessment included the Behavior Assessment Scale for Children (BASC). The participants (N = 67, ages 5-16) were assessed before (T1) and after (T2) program completion to examine program effectiveness. Results: Participants were classified as massively obese (BMI>85th percentile). Results indicate a significant difference across all participants between T1 and T2 on the BASC subscales of Atypicality (p = .00), Depression (p = .03), and Anxiety (p = .00) indices, with significantly fewer symptoms at T2. Hispanics (n= 44) and Caucasians (n= 16), respectively, scored significantly lower at T2 on the Atypicality (p = .00, p=.00), Depression (p = .03, p=.02), and Anxiety (p = .00, p=.01) indices. African-Americans (n = 7) showed greatest improvement on the Depression Index from T1 to T2. Discussion: Treatment efficacy was evident for pediatric weight management, where fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression, and atypicality were reported after program completion. Ethnic disparities do seem to present among this population as evidenced in the current study which alludes to the importance in targeting specific ethnic needs and incorporating those into subsequent interventions.

Learning Objectives:
1.)Identify behavioral symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and atypicality in the pediatric obese populations. 2.)Recognize that participation in programs for obese children need to focus on a reduction in BMI as well as behavioral symptoms across ethnic groups. 3.)Identify ethnic differences in pediatric obesity and psychosocial concerns. 4.)Recognize the importance of evaluating treatment efficacy upon completion of program.

Keywords: Child/Adolescent Mental Health, Weight Management

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was responsible for the data analysis, interpretation, and production of empirical research necessary for the abstract and was supervised by a licensed psychologist and a post-doctoral fellow.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.