The main goal of this project is to develop, deliver, and assess the efficacy of a
parent-centered educational program (4-Health) designed to prevent preteen children from
Previous studies suggest that parents can play a key role in preventing childhood obesity.
Program objectives are to increase parents' knowledge and skills related to nutrition,
physical activity, and best parenting practices. Developed from a successful existing
program, the proposed program will include a novel classroom curriculum coupled with outside
exercises, online resources, and a strong social support network. The curriculum will be
developed with input from stakeholders during year 1 and implemented during years 2 and 3.
The target groups are children and parents participating in 4-H Youth Development Programs
in Montana. Intervention effectiveness will be assessed by comparing objective and
self-report data between-groups (intervention vs. control) and within-groups (pre- to
post-intervention and at 6 month follow-up). Physiological measures, including resting heart
rate, blood pressure, body weight and age- and gender-specific BMI z-scores of children, are
expected to show significant improvement among children of parents receiving the
intervention compared to a mailed written materials control group. In addition, positive
changes are anticipated in outcome measures provided by parents and children, including
levels of daily physical activity and specific food and nutrition behaviors. Positive
changes in parents' attitudes about diet, body image, and their perceived feeding practices
before versus after intervention and at 6 month follow-up are also expected. This project
will lead to improved understanding of how parents influence child obesity and improved
interventions to prevent obesity.
- Parent of 8-12 year old child in 4-H Youth Development Programs in Montana
- Child of parent enrolled in study
- Parent of child age outside the 8-12 year old range at start of trial