Childhood obesity is associated with significant health consequences. Although several intervention programmes for children result in weight loss or stabilization in the short-term, preventing relapse after treatment remains an important challenge. This systematic review summarizes the evidence about maintenance interventions after treatment in childhood obesity. Studies were identified by searching PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Web of Science, PsycINFO, CINAHL and SocINDEX. The primary outcome measure for this review was body mass index standard deviation score (BMI-Z-score). Data were pooled using quality effect models. Eleven studies (1,532 participants, age 2-18 years) were included, covering a wide range of maintenance approaches. Included studies varied widely in methodological quality. Pooled analysis showed that the BMI-Z-score of maintenance intervention participants remained stable, whereas control participants experienced a slight increase. No differences were observed regarding intensity and duration of therapy. A slight preference for 'face-to-face' versus 'on distance' interventions was shown. In summary, this review shows that, although there is limited quality data to recommend one maintenance intervention over another, continued treatment does have a stabilizing effect on BMI-Z-score. Considering the magnitude of the problem of childhood obesity, this is an important finding that highlights the need for further research on weight loss maintenance.
- Childhood obesity