The Feasibility of Family-based Interventions for Paedeatric Obesity Delivered over the Internet

Title: The Feasibility of Family-based Interventions for Paedeatric Obesity Delivered over the Internet
Authors: Leclair, Stephanie
Date: 2012
Abstract: Obesity is a growing concern in North America and current research suggests that for addressing childhood obesity, family-based behavioural interventions targeting children are the treatment of choice. Due to the lack of clinics that offer face to face treatment, the Internet may serve as a viable method for the delivery of such interventions. Three studies are presented in order to explore the viability of the internet as a treatment modality for delivering family-based interventions for children who are overweight. The first study attempted to deliver a family-based behavioural intervention via the internet - the Healthy Eating and Active Living Throughout Youth (HEALTHY) - for children aged 8 to 14 (M = 10.5). The initial goal was to evaluate the effectiveness of the internet as a treatment modality for childhood obesity. A total of 20 families consisting of 25 child-parent dyads consented to the intervention. However, adherence and attrition were significant issues throughout the 3-month intervention and only two child-parent dyads (8%) completed the 3-month intervention. Therefore the goals of this study changed to become primarily exploratory, with the aims of identifying factors related to treatment adherence and attrition. For the second study, the parents of the 20 families who consented to the HEALTHY intervention were invited to participate in a telephone interview around their impressions of the study, barriers to participation, and their needs in seeking services for their children. Sixteen families (80%) provided consent and thematic analyses were conducted. Four categories of themes emerged from the data and included: 'Knowledge and Education', 'Social Supports', 'Tools for Success', and 'Program Goals'. These categories, and the themes embedded within each category are presented and discussed. For the third study a systematic review of exclusively web-based studies for paediatric obesity was conducted. Five health and social sciences databases were search between 1995 and March 2012 (including an initial and updated search). A total of 2432 bibliographic records were identified (following de-duplication) and were subjected to title and abstract screening, and a further 120 records were subject to full-text screening. Two reviewers independently assessed the eligibility of each bibliographic record at these multiple levels and conflicts were resolved by third party. Three records were included in the review, and a further three records were identified as noteworthy in that they reported on one larger web-based study with a minimal face-to-face component (i.e., 4 sessions over 2 years). Data regarding attrition, adherence, and body composition changes were extracted by two independent reviewers. Attrition rates from the included studies ranged from 43% to 85%. The noteworthy study reported 18% overall attrition at six months (following randomization: 18% from the intervention group) and 34% overall attrition at two years (following randomization: 36% from the intervention group). Adherence measures were varied, but suggested low adherence to study components. Body composition changes were marginal in the short-term, but then lost in the longer-term. Implications for research and practice will be discussed. The contributions of this thesis include examining whether family-based interventions for pediatric obesity delivered over the internet are feasible. This question will be answered by exploring baseline characteristics that are related to treatment adherence and attrition, investigating barriers that interfere with adherence and contribute to attrition, and reviewing other research conducted in the field. Following from this thesis, and other relevant research, implications and recommendations for future research and clinical practice will be discussed
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -