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The best way for obese preschoolers to lose weight may be to treat them with their parents, a study by Buffalo researchers shows.

Primary-care treatment of overweight and obese preschoolers works better when both parent and child are treated, according to the study, published in the journal Pediatrics and conducted at the University at Buffalo and Women & Children’s Hospital.

The study noted that:

• Children who received behavioral treatment and diet education with a parent gained an average of 12 pounds over 24 months while growing normally in height. Other children gained almost 16 pounds.

• Parents who were treated with their children lost an average of 14 pounds, whereas parents treated for weight loss separately did not lose weight.

“Our results show that the traditional approach to overweight prevention and treatment focusing only on the child is obsolete,” said Dr. Teresa A. Quattrin, senior author, UB chairwoman of the department of pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief at Women & Children’s Hospital.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com