Background: Many children spend too much time screen-viewing (watching TV, surfing the internet and playing video games) and do not meet physical activity (PA) guidelines. Parents are important influences on children's PA and screen-viewing (SV). There is a shortage of parent-focused interventions to change children's PA and SV.
Methods: Teamplay was a two arm individualized randomized controlled feasibility trial. Participants were parents of 6-8 year old children. Intervention participants were invited to attend an eight week parenting program with each session lasting 2 hours. Children and parents wore an accelerometer for seven days and minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA) were derived. Parents were also asked to report the average number of hours per day that both they and the target child spent watching TV. Measures were assessed at baseline (time 0) at the end of the intervention (week 8) and 2 months after the intervention had ended (week 16).
Results: There were 75 participants who provided consent and were randomized but 27 participants withdrew post-randomization. Children in the intervention group engaged in 2.6 fewer minutes of weekday MVPA at Time 1 but engaged in 11 more minutes of weekend MVPA. At Time 1 the intervention parents engaged in 9 more minutes of weekday MVPA and 13 more minutes of weekend MVPA. The proportion of children in the intervention group watching ≥ 2 hours per day of TV on weekend days decreased after the intervention (time 0 = 76%, time 1 = 39%, time 2 = 50%), while the control group proportion increased slightly (79%, 86% and 87%). Parental weekday TV watching decreased in both groups. In post-study interviews many mothers reported problems associated with wearing the accelerometers. In terms of a future full-scale trial, a sample of between 80 and 340 families would be needed to detect a mean difference of 10-minutes of weekend MVPA.
Conclusions: Teamplay is a promising parenting program in an under-researched area. The intervention was acceptable to parents, and all elements of the study protocol were successfully completed. Simple changes to the trial protocol could result in more complete data collection and study engagement.