Use of a FITLINE to Support Families of Overweight and Obese Children in Pediatric Practices

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Pediatrics; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Health Services Administration | Pediatrics


BACKGROUND: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a staged approach to pediatric weight management, starting with helping families to make targeted dietary and activity changes. This pilot study evaluated the preliminary efficacy of a pediatric practice-based referral program to support parents in helping their overweight/obese children improve their weight-related behaviors and BMI.

METHODS: A nonrandomized intervention study with contemporaneous control was used. Parents and their children ages 8-12 with BMI > /=85th percentile (N = 37) were recruited from a pediatric practice serving a low-income, multiethnic population. Providers delivered brief intervention and referred families to six weekly FITLINE telephone counseling sessions with a nutritionist who guided parents in helping their child make AAP-recommended changes. Child BMI and parent survey of child diet and physical activity were completed at baseline and 3 months. Medical record data from 44 children matched for age and BMI were collected.

RESULTS: Mean change in BMI from baseline to 3-month follow-up was -0.49 BMI units (standard deviation [SD], 0.95; p = 0.007) for the FITLINE group and 0.35 BMI units (SD, 0.96; p = 0.02) for the control group. Adjusting for baseline BMI, age, and sex, children in the FITLINE condition reduced BMI significantly more than children in the control condition (mean difference = -0.89; p = 0.0003). Significant improvements in many dietary and sedentary behaviors also were noted.

CONCLUSIONS: The FITLINE program reduced short-term BMI and improved dietary and sedentary behaviors. A randomized, controlled trial is warranted to assess the program's efficacy and potential to serve as a model for reducing obesity in pediatric practice.

DOI of Published Version



Child Obes. 2016 Feb;12(1):33-43. doi: 10.1089/chi.2015.0101. Epub 2016 Jan 20. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Childhood obesity (Print)

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID