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Factors influencing family success on child weight management

Charan, Nutritionist and Proud Hufflepuff, in our Hertfordshire team has been delving into our BeeZee Families programme data, going all the way back to 2013, to determine what factors impact programme retention and what more we can do to help prevent families dropping-off a course.

The rising rates of childhood obesity in the country and across the world are undeniable. In response to this, several weight management interventions have been developed across the UK to support children and families. The BeeZee Families service is already an award-winning specialist children’s weight management intervention but we are always looking for ways to improve.

By looking back and investigating the data from 2013 up to the current day, we were not only able to determine some factors which affect programme completion but on a really positive note, also able to identify factors that didn’t impact retention levels – showing that we have a great start point to build upon.

Factors that had no bearing on drop-off from our Families programme:

  • Ethnicity: children of all ethnicities were shown to complete the intervention. So, someone’s ethnicity is not showing as a contributing factor to programme drop-off. This means, our programmes are culturally appropriate to a range of families and ensures that we are meeting the needs of a diverse range of people.
    • We found a wide range of diversity on our programmes; usually between 30-40% of the total group is from an ethnic minority.
  • Gender: our research showed that gender made no difference on the levels of programme completion. It’s great news that boys are just as likely to complete the course as the girls.
    • 79% of children who start the programme, complete it.
    • 74% of children who complete the programme maintain, or even reduce their BMI.

There is always room to improve. And we intend to do just that. However, even with the factors that did show some influence over completion, there are still positives to be found;

  • Deprivation Status: although we found that the deprivation status of a family can be a contributing factor when it comes to programme completion, the good news is that children from these families are not more disadvantaged when it comes to losing the weight. So, although they may be more likely to drop-off from the programme, those that do stay and complete achieve the weight maintenance or reduction comparable to those from less deprived areas.


  • Marital Status: We found that the marital status of the parent does make a difference in terms of a family completing the programme. But, with the BeeZee Live programme that we established during lockdown, we have found a new service which can better support single parent households as it reduces transport and childcare barriers to programme completion.

The results from this data-delving project do demonstrate that families starting the programme from higher areas of deprivation and with a higher initial BMI/weight are less likely to complete the BeeZee Families programme and better support does need to be given to help these families.

Teams across the whole company are now hatching plans to help tackle remaining barriers to programme completion alongside our wonderful behavioural science colleagues. We’re really pleased to see that our programmes are successfully supporting a diverse range of families but we are always striving for better, and as a team we will be implementing new strategies to support families even more and then taking these learnings into our other programmes.

Watch this space…