A home-based weight management program benefits both children and parents

An in-home weight management program improved the health of not only the child, but also the child’s parents, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior


Philadelphia, June 6, 2019

Obese children are four times more likely to become obese adults making childhood obesity a significant health threat. A new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, published by Elsevier, found the Developing Relationships that Include Values of Eating and Exercise (DRIVE) curriculum mitigated weight gain in at-risk children as well as prompting their parents to lose weight.

“Parents typically are the most important and influential people in a child’s environment,” said authors Keely Hawkins, PhD, and Corby K. Martin, PhD, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA, USA. “Adding this weight management strategy to existing state and federal home visitation programs could help address the current childhood obesity crisis.”

Sixteen families participated in the study and were recruited from the community based on the child’s obesity risk. Children 2-6 years of age with a body mass index greater than the 75th percentile enrolled. Families were randomly assigned to receive health information only or the DRIVE intervention.

The DRIVE curriculum was provided during 15 in-person sessions in the family’s home. Sessions were 30 minutes long, during which parents and children practiced healthy daily routines including establishing regular snack and mealtimes, reducing screen time, and encouraging physically active play. Each session focused on a single health topic such as portion size, food preparation, how to discuss weight and growth concerns with the pediatrician, and effective parenting strategies. The group that did not receive in-home visits was mailed information on nutrition, physical activity, and parent-child interaction at the beginning of the study.

Children in the DRIVE intervention maintained their body weight with a modest reduction in body mass index over the 19 weeks of the study, while the children who received health education significantly increased their body weight and body mass index. Additionally, parents who participated in the DRIVE sessions also decreased their body weight.

The study also reported that all 16 families completed the program. This level of participation is much higher than programs delivered through clinics or community programs, which can see as many as 75 percent of attendees leave the classes. There are many federal and state services already being provided through home-based visitation programs and this curriculum could be a valuable addition to those efforts.

Dr. Hawkins and Dr. Martin shared, “Our results showed that at the half-way point of the study, children were becoming healthier. Changes in the health of the parents, though, did not happen until the end of the study. This points to the need for long-term, family-based programs to support behavior change.”

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Notes for editors
The article is “Efficacy of a Home-Based Parent Training-Focused Weight Management Intervention for Preschool Children: The DRIVE Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial,” by Keely R. Hawkins. PhD; John W. Apolzan, PhD; Amanda E. Staiano, PhD; Jenelle R. Shanley, PhD; and Corby K. Martin, PhD (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2019.04.002). It appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, volume 51, issue 6 (June 2019) published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Eileen Leahy at +1 732 238 3628 or jnebmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. To schedule an interview with the authors please contact Dr. Corby K. Martin at +1 225 763 2585 or corby.martin@pbrc.edu.

This research was supported by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and partially supported by a grant sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

About the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB)
The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB), the official journal of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB), is a refereed, scientific periodical that serves as a resource for all professionals with an interest in nutrition education and dietary/physical activity behaviors. The purpose of JNEB is to document and disseminate original research, emerging issues, and practices relevant to nutrition education and behavior worldwide and to promote healthy, sustainable food choices. It supports the society’s efforts to disseminate innovative nutrition education strategies, and communicate information on food, nutrition, and health issues to students, professionals, policy makers, targeted audiences, and the public.

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior features articles that provide new insights and useful findings related to nutrition education research, practice, and policy. The content areas of JNEB reflect the diverse interests of health, nutrition, education, Cooperative Extension, and other professionals working in areas related to nutrition education and behavior. As the Society's official journal, JNEB also includes occasional policy statements, issue perspectives, and member communications. www.jneb.org

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

Media contact
Eileen Leahy
Elsevier
+1 732 238 3628
jnebmedia@elsevier.com