Mealtime problems predict outcome in clinical trial to improve nutrition in children with CF

Lisa Opipari-Arrigan, Scott W. Powers, Alexandra L. Quittner, Lori J. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Better growth and nutritional status is strongly associated with better pulmonary function and survival in children with CF. Behavioral intervention is an efficacious treatment approach for improving calorie intake and weight gain in children with CF; and recently has been shown to facilitate maintenance of daily energy intake at 120% of the healthy population over a 2-year period. However, no study to date has examined factors that predict outcome with behavior intervention to promote weight gain in CF. The objectives of this study were to examine the influence of nutritional status, mealtime behavior problems, and maternal depressive symptoms on calorie intake and weight gain following participation in a randomized trial to improve nutritional status in cystic fibrosis. Sixty-seven children, aged 4-12 years with cystic fibrosis participated in a clinical trial targeting calorie and weight increases. Participants completed baseline measures of mealtime behavior problems, maternal depression, and fat absorption, and baseline and post-treatment caloric intake and weight. Assignment to behavioral group (R2 change=0.17), lower frequency of mealtime behavior problems (R2 change=0.11), and higher maternal depression (R2 change=0.06) predicted greater calorie increase baseline to post-treatment. Assignment to behavioral group (R 2 change=0.09), higher baseline weight (R2 change=0.10), fat absorption (R2 change=0.02), and lower frequency of mealtime behavior problems (R2 change=0.06) predicted greater weight gain baseline to post-treatment. Less frequent mealtime behavior problems led to better calorie intake and weight gain in a 9-week clinical trial of behavior intervention and nutrition education to improve nutritional status in cystic fibrosis. The key implication from these findings is that early referral to behavioral intervention as soon as growth deficits become a concern will likely yield the best nutritional outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-82
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric pulmonology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010



  • Behavior therapy
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Nutrition education
  • Nutrition status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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