Objective: To design and assess the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a culturally adapted, evidenced-based weight management program for overweight and obese Latino children aged 4–9 years and their families.
Target Audience: Latino families whose children had a BMI-for-age >85th percentile, age 4–9 years were recruited through local schools and health care clinics.
Theory, Prior Research, Rationale: Latino children are disproportionally affected by obesity, yet evidence-based treatment guidelines are limited. Previous studies have not addressed factors such as cultural perceptions and home environment. The program design was informed by the principles of both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to provide participants with strategies to modify health behaviors. The health belief model provided the basis for lessons that addressed nutrition and eating practices.
Description: Children (n = 36) and their families participated in a 10-week (~90 min/week) group and family based program that addressed diet, exercise, and behavior modification administered by a multidisciplinary team. The intervention was delivered in Spanish. Children engaged in supervised exercise programming, siblings participated in alternate activities, and caregivers participated in culturally adapted nutrition (reading labels, affording healthy options, altering cultural recipes) and behavioral health sessions (i.e. behavioral reinforcement, family problem solving, stimulus control). Dinner and healthy recipes were provided to families while they set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive) goals weekly.
Evaluation: Retention rate was 64%. All families reported feeling more confident in making healthier food choices and observed positive changes in their child's eating and physical activity behaviors. For children who completed the program, a significant decrease in BMI percentile (-0.07, P < .05), body fat percentage (-1.16, P < .05) and waist circumference (-2.05, P < .05) were observed.
Conclusions and Implications: A 10-week multidisciplinary and culturally adapted group intervention for Latino families was well accepted and improved self-efficacy among children and parents.
Funding: Howard L. Greenhouse Large Grant, Potomac Health Foundation; Provost Multidisciplinary Grant, George Mason University.
The following is the supplementary data to this article: