Developing and Testing a Family Health Promotion Program
The purpose of this project was to (1) develop and test the feasibility of implementing a family-based health promotion (FHP) program designed to influence various aspects of family interactions and the home environment that are associated with early adolescents’ dietary behaviors and levels of physical activity, and (2) conduct a short-term pilot efficacy evaluation of the developed program.
The FHP program has retained the structure and core parenting and family skill-building components of a well-established, evidence-based family-skills program, and incorporated new content based on health behavior modification strategies that have been shown to be efficacious in weight reduction trials for children that involved parents. As an important step of program development, the FHP program curriculum also underwent a feasibility study to identify and address issues raised by the target audience (participating parents and youth) and FHP program facilitators before its pilot test. Finally, a randomized pilot efficacy evaluation of the FHP program was conducted using a wait-list control design, in order to test its short-term efficacy (one month) for enhancing parenting skills, family interaction, and adolescent health behaviors.
Analysis results demonstrated some short-term effects of the project that intervention-targeted parenting strategies, child self-efficacy and intentions for engaging in healthy dietary behaviors and higher levels of physical activity have been enhanced, and participants' actual health behavior changed. For example, mothers in the intervention group were more likely to set up rules or limitations for children's screen time and used less strict parenting around eating. Youths in the intervention group suggested their family doing physical activities together more often, more likely to try new food, spent less time in watching television, and drank less sugary drinks and regular soda. Participants in the prevention group were more likely to read nutrition labels on food before buying or eating and more strongly believed the importance and the effects of healthy foods to youths’ health.