Family therapy as a model for treating childhood obesity: Useful tools for clinicians.

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More than 15 percent of children in Europe are overweight; another 5 percent are obese. The high prevalence of obesity emphasizes the necessity of developing evidence-based treatment programs that are useful in a clinical setting. Management of childhood obesity is commonly based on lifestyle interventions where nutrition, physical activity, and behavior modification are the main targets. To incorporate lifestyle interventions, many childhood obesity treatment models use different psychological models, such as behavior modification or cognitive behavior therapy. This paper presents the key lessons from a research program on an empirically supported family-therapy-based treatment, Standardized Obesity Family Therapy (SOFT). SOFT is based on systemic and solution-focused theories and has shown positive effects on the child with respect to degree of obesity, physical fitness, self-esteem, and family functioning in several studies. The distinguishing features of SOFT are the focus on family interactions as an important source for implementing and maintaining lifestyle changes, the multidisciplinary team approach, and a limited number of sessions (three to four per year). The main aim of this paper is to provide tools for clinicians in the field of obesity who work with families, alone or in a multidisciplinary team.


  • Paulina Nowicka
  • Carl-Erik Flodmark
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Early online date2010 Aug 5
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch

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