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Healthy Kids & Families


Healthy Kids & Families Title

Healthy Kids and Families

Healthy Kids & FamiliesTM, the applied research project of the Prevention Research Center (PRC) at UMass Chan Medical School from 2014-2019, tested the impact of a community health worker (CHW)-delivered intervention aimed at helping families overcome barriers to childhood obesity prevention. The intervention was 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 addressed social, environmental, and family issues that could pose as barriers to healthy choices. As a bilingual program, the project included families who spoke Spanish or English. Recognizing that families were typically pressed for time, Marline, the CHW Coach, met with families individually, both in person and by telephone, at times and locations that were convenient for them. She got to know the families and their concerns regarding healthy eating, physical activity, and healthy weight. She used Motivational Interviewing techniques when speaking with families about their goals to engage in a healthier lifestyle. She also shared information and referred them to community resources that could help families meet their goals. Marline's work was supported through quarterly newsletters mailed to families and through organized community navigation events.

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 evaluated on outcomes of both parent and child on Body Mass Index (BMI), dietary behaviors, physical activity, and sedentariness. Families were in the intervention for 2 years, and  were assessed at baseline, 6-, 12-, 18- and 24-months.

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

The PRC at Umass Chan was a member of the Prevention Research Centers Program, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperative agreement number 5-U48-DP-005031.