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Building Healthy Families: Outcomes of an Adapted Family Healthy Weight Program Among Children in a Rural Mid-Western Community

Child Obes. 2024 Apr 3. doi: 10.1089/chi.2023.0142. Online ahead of print.


Background: This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of implementing an adapted, evidence-based 12-week Family Healthy Weight Program (FHWP), Building Healthy Families, on reducing BMI metrics and clinical health indicators in a real-world community setting. Methods: Ninety child participants with a BMI percentile greater or equal to the 95th percentile for gender and age and their parents/guardians (n = 137) enrolled in the program. Families attended 12 weekly group-based sessions of nutrition education, family lifestyle physical activity, and behavior modification. A pre-post study design with a 6-month follow-up was used. Results: Nine cohorts of families between 2009 and 2016 completed the program with 82.1% retention at 12 weeks and 53.6% at 6 months. Participants had statistically significant improvements at 12 weeks in BMI z-score, %BMIp95, body mass, body fat, fat mass, fat-free mass, and systolic blood pressure with greater improvement at 6 months in body mass, BMI metrics, body fat, fat mass, fat-free mass, and systolic blood pressure. Parents/guardians of the participants had similar statistically significant body composition and blood pressure improvements (p < 0.05). In addition, children had significant improvements in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) liver enzymes at 6 months. Conclusions: Overall, this study demonstrated that an evidence-based FHWP can result in statistically meaningful declines in BMI z-score and accompanied clinically meaningful changes in health risk. Participants lost ∼4% of their body mass in 12 weeks, while their parents/guardians lost closer to 7% of their body mass, which supports previous literature suggesting body mass changes influence health.

PMID:38569168 | DOI:10.1089/chi.2023.0142

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