A pilot evaluation of appetite-awareness training in the treatment of childhood overweight and obesity

26 June 2012

Objective: The aim of this study was to conduct a preliminary evaluation of Children’s Appetite Awareness Training (CAAT), a treatment for childhood obesity which encourages overweight children to eat in response to internal appetite cues. Method: Overweight children (ages 6 – 12 years old) were randomized to either the CAAT treatment group (N=23), to receive one-hour treatment sessions over six weeks, or a wait-list group (N=24). Weight and height of children and parents in both groups were assessed at pre- and post-treatment (or equivalent time for wait-list control) and at a six-month follow-up for those in the CAAT group. Results: The intervention had a significant, short-term effect on the BMI of children who participated. Although at six-month follow-up, children’s BMI has not increased significantly, the difference between pre-treatment and follow-up BMI was no longer significant. Discussion: These results are encouraging for the use of CAAT with overweight children. Long-term effectiveness could be enhanced through increasing the duration of the program, adding booster sessions and increased involvement of parents.