Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How Bad Do We Want Good News Regarding Childhood Obesity? This Bad

So let me set the stage.

Researchers wanted to evaluate the impact of 6-8 months of motivational interviewing, self monitoring, text messaging and email support, had on the weights and behaviours of high school students with obesity. This intervention group was of course matched with a control group that didn't receive all that great attention.

Retention was great with 94% of the intervention group completing their last visit (and 87% of controls).

The results? Well they were published last month in the journal Childhood Obesity.

While 54% of the intervention group either maintained or reduced their BMI scores, the control group did markedly better with 72% of the control kids seeing their BMI scores maintained or reduced.

The difference by the way, according to the authors' statistical analysis, was likely real and significant with a p value of 0.025. And of course, there were confounders, and the authors did present some thoughts as to why they may have seen the results they did.

And yet what was the first of the authors' conclusions about this study where their lengthy and involved intervention was shown to be statistically inferor to doing nothing?
"This SBHC intervention showed successful recruitment and retention of participants and delivery of preventive services in both groups."
Shows you just how badly we want this particular glass to be half-full.