Background: The primary care setting offers the opportunity to reach children and parents to encourage healthy lifestyle behaviours, and improve weight status among children.
Objective: Test the feasibility of Helping HAND (Healthy Activity and Nutrition Directions), an obesity intervention for 5- to 8-year-old children in primary care clinics.
Methods: A randomized controlled pilot study of Helping HAND, a 6-month intervention, targeted children with body mass index 85-99%tile and their parents. Intervention group attended monthly sessions and self-selected child behaviours and parenting practices to change. Control group received regular paediatric care and was wait-listed for Helping HAND. Session completion, participant satisfaction, child anthropometrics, dietary intake, physical activity, TV viewing and behaviour-specific parenting practices were measured pre and post intervention.
Results: Forty parent-child dyads enrolled: 82.5% were Hispanic, 80% had a girl and 65% reported income ≤ $30, 000/year. There was 20% attrition from Helping HAND (attended <4/6 sessions). Families self-selected 4.35 (SD 1.75) behaviours to target during the 6-month programme and each of the seven behaviours was selected by 45-80% of the families. There were no between group differences in the child's body mass index z-score, dietary intake or physical activity post intervention. Intervention group viewed 14.9 (SE 2.3) h/week of TV post intervention versus control group 23.3 (SE 2.4) h/week (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Helping HAND is feasible, due to low attrition, good programme attendance, and clinically relevant improvements in some child and parenting behaviours.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01195012.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.