Health Information Prescriptions for Parents and Caregivers of Overweight Children

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Marilyn A. Davies1
Gilan El Saadawi, MD, PhD2
Lauren Terhorst3
Allyson Havill, PhD, RN2
1Health and Community Systems, School of Nursing University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
2Health and Community Systems, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, PA
3Center for Research and Evaluation, School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Learning Objective 1: 1) iecognize the importance of improving parental and caregiver self-efficacy in skill sets related to risk factors of childhood obesity.

Learning Objective 2: 2) identify ways that the Healthy Family, Health Kids program can be applied in community-based health care settings for risk assessments and/or program planning.

Purpose: The increasing rates of childhood obesity worldwide presents one of the most challenging dilemmas facing public health officials and health professionals.  We will describe how we met this challenge by designing and field testing Healthy Family, Healthy Kids, a website/manual resource for parents and caregivers of young, overweight children who attend community-based healthcare settings in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. 
Methods: Two theoretical models guided the development of our conceptual framework for this project: a) Swinburn and colleagues’ ecological model for obesity (1) and b)  Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (2,3). Unlike any published prevention program, we designed two formats for delivery of Healthy Family, Healthy Kids:  a Web site and a manual. Health Family, Health Kids consists of written health information pages aimed at increasing parental and caregiver self-efficacy in skill sets related to nine risk factors of childhood obesity.  Also, our health information is written at a 5th grade literacy level so as to be readable and understood by parents and caregivers of the most vulnerable children (i.e., those from low-income households and poor neighborhoods).

Results: We plan to share the results of our design phase, usability study and our feasibility study (in progress).  

Conclusion: Individuals who work in community-based health settings need to identify young children before they become obese and to deliver family-based interventions aimed at improving parental/caregiver self-efficacy in skill sets related to risk factors for childhood obesity.

  1. Swinburn, B., T. Gill, and S. Kumanyika,  (2005)Obesity prevention: a proposed framework for translating evidence into action. Obes Rev,  6(1): p. 23-33.
  2. Bandura, A., (2004)  Health promotion by social cognitive means. Health Educ Behav, 31(2): p. 143-64.
  3. Bandura, A.,  (1977) Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychol Rev, 84(2): p. 191-215.