Objective: The objective of this research is to develop and pilot test mHealth enhancements to improve child feeding skills and mealtime behaviors of low-income fathers.
Description: Parents, primary decision makers for young children, are a key target for child obesity prevention interventions. However, interventions have primarily targeted mothers and little is known about the possible influence and needs of fathers. As childhood obesity rates remain high in the United States, novel strategies are needed in early life, especially for low-income, ethnic minority families who are at higher risk for obesity. The development and pilot testing of mHealth (mobile health) enhancements are one potential innovative approach to further engage low-income fathers in community-based programs. However, little, if any, evidence exists regarding the feasibility, acceptability and impact of mHealth nutrition and parenting interventions on low-income families, particularly fathers.
Evaluation: The following approach will be used: conduct formative research with low-income fathers (n = 30) of preschool age children to determine preferred mHealth technological enhancement topics and delivery methods; develop mHealth technological enhancements including a series of video vignettes for a current father-focused nutrition and parenting childhood obesity prevention program; and evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the mHealth technological enhancements on improving food-related parenting practices and mealtime behaviors of low-income fathers (n = 30) with preschool children.
Conclusions and Implications: The innovation of using mHealth approaches to change nutrition and parenting behaviors while targeting a novel population, low income fathers, for childhood obesity prevention will provide evidence and tools for future Randomized Controlled Trials and programs to be implemented in the U.S., especially for high risk families participating in federally-funded nutrition assistance programs.
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