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Publication - Professor Julian Hamilton-Shield

    What change in body mass index is associated with improvement in percentage body fat in childhood obesity?

    A meta-regression


    Birch, L, Perry, R, Hunt, LP, Matson, R, Chong, A, Beynon, R & Shield, JP, 2019, ‘What change in body mass index is associated with improvement in percentage body fat in childhood obesity?: A meta-regression’. BMJ Open, vol 9.


    OBJECTIVE: Using meta-regression this paper sets out the minimum change in body mass index-SD score (BMI-SDS) required to improve adiposity as percentage body fat for children and adolescents with obesity.

    DESIGN: Meta-regression.

    SETTING: Studies were identified as part of a large-scale systematic review of the following electronic databases: AMED, Embase, MEDLINE via OVID, Web of Science and CENTRAL via Cochrane library.

    PARTICIPANTS: Individuals aged 4-19 years with a diagnosis of obesity according to defined BMI thresholds.

    INTERVENTIONS: Studies of lifestyle treatment interventions that included dietary, physical activity and/or behavioural components with the objective of reducing obesity were included. Interventions of <2 weeks duration and those that involved surgical and/or pharmacological components (eg, bariatric surgery, drug therapy) were excluded.

    PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: To be included in the review, studies had to report baseline and post-intervention BMI-SDS or change measurements (primary outcome measures) plus one or more of the following markers of metabolic health (secondary outcome measures): adiposity measures other than BMI; blood pressure; glucose; inflammation; insulin sensitivity/resistance; lipid profile; liver function. This paper focuses on adiposity measures only. Further papers in this series will report on other outcome measures.

    RESULTS: This paper explores the potential impact of BMI-SDS reduction in terms of change in percentage body fat. Thirty-nine studies reporting change in mean percentage body fat were analysed. Meta-regression demonstrated that reduction of at least 0.6 in mean BMI-SDS ensured a mean reduction of percentage body fat mass, in the sense that the associated 95% prediction interval for change in mean percentage body fat was wholly negative.

    CONCLUSIONS: Interventions demonstrating reductions of 0.6 BMI-SDS might be termed successful in reducing adiposity, a key purpose of weight management interventions.


    Full details in the University publications repository