The 'Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids' community randomized controlled trial: a community-based healthy lifestyle program for fathers and their children

Prev Med. 2014 Apr;61:90-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.12.019. Epub 2013 Dec 29.


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the 'Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids (HDHK)' program when delivered by trained facilitators in community settings.

Method: A two-arm randomized controlled trial of 93 overweight/obese fathers (mean [SD] age=40.3 [5.3] years; BMI=32.5 [3.8] kg/m(2)) and their primary school-aged children (n=132) from the Hunter Region, Australia. In 2010-2011, families were randomized to either: (i) HDHK intervention (n=48 fathers, n=72 children) or (ii) wait-list control group. The 7-week intervention included seven sessions and resources (booklets, pedometers). Assessments were held at baseline and 14-weeks with fathers' weight (kg) as the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes for fathers and children included waist, BMI, blood pressure, resting heart rate, physical activity (pedometry), and self-reported dietary intake and sedentary behaviors.

Results: Linear mixed models (intention-to-treat) revealed significant between-group differences for fathers' weight (P<.001, d=0.24), with HDHK fathers losing more weight (-3.3 kg; 95%CI, -4.3, -2.4) than control fathers (0.1 kg; 95%CI, -0.9,1.0). Significant treatment effects (P<.05) were also found for fathers' waist (d=0.41), BMI (d=0.26), resting heart rate (d=0.59), energy intake (d=0.49) and physical activity (d=0.46) and for children's physical activity (d=0.50) and adiposity (d=0.07).

Discussion: HDHK significantly improved health outcomes and behaviors in fathers and children, providing evidence for program effectiveness when delivered in a community setting.

Keywords: Children; Fathers; Intervention; Men; Obesity; Translational research; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Services*
  • Diet / psychology
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data
  • Exercise
  • Father-Child Relations*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / prevention & control
  • Pamphlets
  • Program Development
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Television / statistics & numerical data
  • Weight Reduction Programs*
  • Young Adult