Thirteen studies (n=602) were included.
All of the studies had methodological weaknesses. Ten studies had small sample sizes, ranging from 8 to 22 participants per treatment group. The largest arm of any of the trials was a comparator group with 50 participants. None of the studies reported a power calculation. Four studies did not describe the methods used for randomisation.
Behavioural modification interventions (7 studies, n=305).
The outcomes varied. For interventions in which parents and children were seen together, weight loss occurred in parents, parent and children, or the child alone. When parents and children were seen separately, weight loss occurred in either the child or the parent. In interventions in which parents guided and supported their children, the children lost weight.
Behaviour therapy interventions (4 studies, n=190).
Three studies using behavioural therapy to improve the parents' management skills reported weight loss in children. In one study targeting parents and children, weight loss occurred in parents and children.
Problem-solving (2 studies, n=107).
One study reported that problem-solving taught to parents improved weight loss in their children. The other study reported that the addition of problem-solving to a standard family-based intervention had no additional effect.