Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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How to help a child lose weight

Nearly a third of kids in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. The best way parents can help children lose weight, according to a new study?

“Lose weight themselves,” said Kerri N. Bouelle, associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. “In this study, it was the most important predictor of child weight loss.”

The study involved 80 parent-child groups involving kids 8-12 years old. According to a press release, the study evaluated the effectiveness of changes in the household food situation; the parents’ efforts to model and promote their own weight loss; and parenting style and techniques, such as providing encouragement and trying to limit their children’s eating.

What mattered most, it turned out, was whether a parent’s own Body Mass Index changed.

“Consistent with previously published research, parent BMI change was the only significant predictor of child weight loss,” according to a press release from UC San Diego.

The results were published in the online version of the journal Obesity.