Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Science
The development and dissemination of appropriate integrated curricula for parents represent a critical need and a novel approach in the obesity prevention field. Our objective was to assess if parental participation in a healthy lifestyle program (PAWS [Peer-education About Weight Steadiness] Club) for middle school students would improve parental anthropometrics, social cognitive theory (SCT) mediators of dietary behavior, and family mealtime frequency and environment.
Methods : A total of 42 parents participated in five weekly 1.5-hour sessions, delivered four times from 2015-2017. The sessions were led by a trained research assistant; focused on family fitness, meal planning, family mealtimes, label reading, energy balance, making healthy choices and simple recipes, self-reflection and goal setting. Data on anthropometrics, blood pressure (BP), SCT mediators (social/family support, self-efficacy, self-regulation, and outcome expectations) of eating, and family meal patterns (frequency and environment) was collected from the parents at pre-and post-intervention. Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was used to determine any changes from baseline to post assessment for SCT mediators of dietary behavior and family meal patterns. Paired t-test was used to determine any changes from pre-to post-intervention for anthropometric and BP measurements. Significance was set at P< 0.05.
Of the 42 participants, 67% were females (mothers); 33% self-reported White and 33% self-reported African American race/ethnicity. Participants significantly improved in their self-regulation for reducing unhealthy foods (p=0.011), social support for balancing calories (p=0.007), and family mealtime patterns (p=0.003) from pre- to post-assessment. No significant changes were observed for anthropometric and BP measures.
Parental participation in a healthy lifestyle program can potentially improve family mealtime environment and frequency and increase self-regulation and social support for dietary behaviors of the family. These results have implications for planning future health programs with adolescents in schools.
Funding Sources :
Supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2012-68001-22032.