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Pilot of 'Families for Health': community-based family intervention for obesity
  1. Wendy Robertson (w.robertson{at}
  1. Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
    1. Tim Friede (t.friede{at}
    1. Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
      1. Jackie Blissett (j.blissett{at}
      1. School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
        1. Mary CJ Rudolf (mary.rudolf{at}
        1. Belmont House, Leeds Primary Care Trust, United Kingdom
          1. Maybelle A Wallis (maybelle.wallis{at}
          1. Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals Trust, United Kingdom
            1. Sarah Stewart-Brown (sarah.stewart-brown{at}
            1. Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, United Kingdom


              Objective: To develop and evaluate 'Families for Health' - a new community based family intervention for childhood obesity.

              Design: Programme development, pilot study and evaluation using intention-to-treat analysis.

              Setting: Coventry, England

              Participants: 27 overweight or obese children aged 7-13 years (18 girls, 9 boys) and their parents, from 21 families.

              Intervention: 'Families for Health' is a 12 week programme with parallel groups for parents and children, addressing parenting, lifestyle change and social & emotional development.

              Main Outcome Measures: Primary: change in baseline BMI z-score at end of programme (3 months) and 9 month follow-up. Attendance, drop-out, parents' perception of programme, child's quality of life and self esteem, parental mental health, parent-child relationships and lifestyle changes were also measured.

              Results: Attendance rate was 62%, with 18 of the 27 (67%) children completing the programme. For the 22 children with follow-up data (including 4 drop-outs), BMI z-score was reduced by -0.18 (95%CI -0.30 to -0.05) at end of programme and by -0.21 (-0.35 to -0.07) at 9 months. Statistically significant improvements were observed in children’s quality of life and lifestyle (reduced sedentary behaviour, increased steps and reduced exposure to unhealthy foods), child-parent relationships and parents’ mental health. Fruit and vegetable consumption, participation in moderate/vigorous exercise and children’s self-esteem did not change significantly. Topics on parenting skills, activity and food were rated as helpful and were used with confidence by the majority of parents.

              Conclusions: Families for Health is a promising new childhood obesity intervention. Definitive evaluation of its clinical effectiveness by randomised controlled trial is now required.

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