Objective: To evaluate the effect of a high-protein diet on anthropometry, body composition, subjective appetite, and mood sensations in overweight and obese children attending a residential weight-loss camp. Research Methods and Procedures: Children (120; BMI, 33.1 ± 5.5 kg/m2; age, 14.2 ± 1.9 years) were randomly assigned to either a standard or high-protein diet group (15% vs. 22.5% protein, respectively). All children were assessed at baseline and at the end of the camp for anthropometry, body composition, blood pressure, biochemical variables (n = 27), and subjective appetite and mood sensations (n = 50). Results: Attendance at the weight-loss camp resulted in significant improvements in most measures. Campers lost 5.5 ± 2.9 kg in body weight (p < 0.001) and 3.8 ± 5.4 kg in fat mass (p < 0.001) and reduced their BMI standard deviation score by 0.27 ± 0.1 (p < 0.001) and their waist circumference by 6.6 ± 2.8 cm (p < 0.001). Subjective sensations of hunger increased significantly over the camp duration, but no other changes in appetite or mood were observed. There were no significant differences between the two diets on any physical or subjective measures. Discussion: Weight-loss camps are effective in assisting children to lose weight and improve on a range of health outcomes, independently of the protein content of the diet. The implications of an increase in hunger associated with weight loss needs to be considered. Further work is warranted to investigate whether higher levels of dietary protein are feasible or effective in longer-term weight-loss interventions of this type.
- Childhood obesity
- Weight management program