The Use of Group Dynamics Strategies to Enhance Cohesion in a Lifestyle Intervention Program for Obese Children

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Martin, Luc J.
Burke, Shauna M.
Shapiro, Sheree
Carron, Albert V.
Irwin, Jennifer D.
Petrella, Robert
Prapavessis, Harry
Shoemaker, Kevin
Group Dynamics , Intervention , Obese Children
Background Most research pertaining to childhood obesity has assessed the effectiveness of preventative interventions, while relatively little has been done to advance knowledge in the treatment of obesity. Thus, a 4-week family- and group-based intervention utilizing group dynamics strategies designed to increase cohesion was implemented to influence the lifestyles and physical activity levels of obese children. Methods/Design This paper provides an overview of the rationale for and implementation of the intervention for obese children and their families. Objectives of the intervention included the modification of health behaviors and cohesion levels through the use of group dynamics strategies. To date, a total of 15 children (7 boys and 8 girls, mean age = 10.5) and their families have completed the intervention (during the month of August 2008). Physiological and psychological outcomes were assessed throughout the 4-week intervention and at 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up periods. Discussion It is believed that the information provided will help researchers and health professionals develop similar obesity treatment interventions through the use of evidence-based group dynamics strategies. There is also a need for continued research in this area, and it is our hope that the Children's Health and Activity Modification Program (C.H.A.M.P.) will provide a strong base from which others may build.
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