Study designs of evaluations included in the review
The inclusion criteria for study designs were not explicitly stated. The included studies had to report data needed for the calculation of effect sizes.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies evaluating any family-behavioural treatment for weight loss in children were eligible for inclusion. Behavioural treatment was defined as the use of at least one named behavioural or cognitive-behavioural technique to encourage children to pursue and maintain healthy physical and/or eating habits. At least one parent or guardian had to be involved in the treatment of the child. In the included studies, parents were either concomitantly treated for obesity or they were trained to encourage behavioural changes to promote weight loss in their children. The frequency of the meetings and the length of treatment varied across the studies. The initial treatment period ranged from 8 to 26 weeks, which in some studies was prolonged into a maintenance phase for up to 9 months. The length of follow-up, if any, was between 3 and 24 months. Comparator groups included other treatment (behavioural treatments analogous to the family-behavioural groups without the direct involvement of the parents) and control groups (not defined).
Participants included in the review
Studies of children between 5 and 12 years old were eligible for inclusion. The participants in the included studies were enrolled through newspaper advertisements, self-referral and physician referrals.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The inclusion criteria relating to outcomes were not clearly specified. The outcomes in the included studies were percentage overweight, body mass index (BMI), weight in pounds (or kilograms), or standardised BMI (z-BMI). When studies reported multiple outcomes, the percentage overweight was the preferred outcome for the review.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
Two reviewers performed the study selection based on pre-specified inclusion criteria.