Feasibility of an obesity intervention for paediatric primary care targeting parenting and children: Helping HAND

Child Care Health Dev. 2013 Jan;39(1):141-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01344.x. Epub 2011 Nov 9.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Parenting*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Texas
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01195012