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Healthy Kids & Families


Healthy Kids & Families Title

Healthy Kids and Families

Healthy Kids & FamiliesTM, the applied research project of the UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center at UMass Chan Medical School, is testing the impact of a community health worker (CHW)-delivered intervention aimed at helping families overcome barriers to childhood obesity prevention. The intervention is compared to a comparison condition consisting of a CHW-delivered intervention aimed at helping families improve positive parenting skills. The intervention and comparison condition are identical in format.

Led by Milagros C. Rosal, PhD, and Wenjun Li, PhD, the intervention addresses social, environmental, and family issues that may pose as barriers to healthy choices. As a bilingual program, the project is able to include families who speak Spanish or English. Recognizing that families are typically pressed for time, Marline meets with families individually, both in person and by telephone, at times and locations that are convenient for them. She gets to know the families and their concerns regarding healthy eating, physical activity, and healthy weight. She uses Motivational Interviewing techniques when speaking with families about their goals to engage in a healthier lifestyle. She also shares information and refers to community resources that could help families meet their goals. Marline's work is supported through quarterly newsletters mailed to families and through organized community navigation events. In the upcoming months, families will also be invited to participate in a private Facebook group that will reinforce intervention messages and give families an additional way to get to know each other and share information.

Participants in the study include 247 children and their parents in Kindergarten through 6th grade from nine elementary schools located in economically distressed areas of Worcester. The project is evaluated on outcomes of both parent and child on Body Mass Index (BMI), dietary behaviors, physical activity, and sedentariness. Families will be involved in the intervention for 2 years, and will be assessed at baseline, 6-, 12-, 18- and 24-months.

Healthy Kids & FamiliesTM is a partnership of the UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center, the Worcester Public Schools, and Oak Hill Community Development Corporation.

The UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center is a member of the Prevention Research Centers Program, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperative agreement number 5-U48-DP-005031. 

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