Parent‐directed intervention in promoting knowledge of pediatric nutrition and healthy lifestyle among low‐SES families with toddlers: A randomized controlled trial
The objective of this study is to determine the efficacy of an interactive, home visiting curriculum tailored to low socio‐economic status families in improving parental knowledge of paediatric nutrition and healthy lifestyle.
Parents of toddlers aged 13–16 months living with a household income below 200% of the federal poverty line were randomized into healthy lifestyle intervention and control home visiting curriculum groups. Each curriculum consisted of 12 one‐on‐one educational sessions with parents facilitated by a trained home‐visitor that were administered over a 6‐month intervention period. Knowledge assessments were administered before and after the intervention period.
Results of a one‐way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) analysis showed that parents in the intervention group (M = 26.05, SD = 4.24) scored significantly higher than control parents (M = 23.84, SD = 4.26) post intervention, controlling for parent education level, F (1, 102) = 7.494 (95% confidence interval [−3.68, −0.59]). One‐way ANCOVA analysis showed no significant mean difference between the parents in the intervention group (M = 24.13, SD = 4.37) and the control group (M = 23.93, SD = 4.16) at baseline, controlling for parent education level, F (1, 163) = 0.002 (95% confidence interval [−1.28, 1.22]).
An interactive healthy lifestyle intervention focused on low‐SES families significantly improved parental knowledge of paediatric healthy lifestyle. Changes in parental knowledge is a key preliminary step in behaviour change to ultimately affect behaviour. Informing and encouraging parents of toddlers to guide healthy lifestyle development early remains a promising point of intervention for prevention, rather than remediation, of childhood obesity.