This pilot study aimed to refine and test an adaption of family‐based treatment (FBT) for eating disorders that addressed the distinct clinical needs of adolescents with overweight or obesity in the absence of eating disorder pathology. Our hypothesis was that FBT for paediatric obesity (FBT‐PO) would be feasible to implement and superior to a nutrition education counselling (NEC) condition delivered to both parents and patients, thereby controlling for key information dissemination across groups while manipulating active therapeutic content and strategy.
Seventy‐seven adolescents were randomized to FBT‐PO or NEC across two sites.
Results supported our core prediction, in that weight status among adolescent study participants receiving FBT‐PO remained stable while increasing among participants randomized to NEC. Attrition was high in both conditions.
FBT‐PO, while not seeming to yield a marked decrease in body mass index z‐score, may arrest an otherwise‐occurring weight‐gain trajectory for these adolescents. This efficacy finding is consistent with the overall PO literature supporting parental involvement in the treatment of PO. Future research efforts should address retention in FBT‐PO.