Latinos are disproportionately represented among overweight or obese 2 to 5 year old children suggesting efforts to prevent obesity must begin earlier. Addressing healthy weight development in Latinos during infancy and early childhood has critical implications for the present and future obesity epidemic and its related consequences like diabetes. Multiple and complex subsystems, such as family systems, influence behaviors associated with childhood obesity. Few childhood obesity interventions, however, comprehensively address family environmental factors. The overall objective of this NIDDK Career Development Award is to identify the culturally-specific family-level determinants of young children's nutritional, physical activity, and media-viewing behaviors and use this knowledge to develop, pilot test, and examine the preliminary outcomes, acceptability, feasibility, and sustainability of a family intervention to reduce early childhood obesity.
The specific aims to meet this objective are to: (1) identify and compare the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of mothers, fathers, and grandparents that shape nutritional, physical activity, and media-viewing practices of Latino children 6- to 24-months of age;(2) design and evaluate preliminary outcomes of a pilot intervention to build family collectivism in age-appropriate and guideline-recommended nutritional, physical activity, and media-viewing practices;and (3) evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and sustainability of this innovative family intervention.
In Aim 1, focus groups will be conducted to identify and examine similarities and differences in specific caregiver knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and the family dynamics that shape young children's nutritional, physical activity, and media-viewing patterns.
In Aim 2, findings from Aim will be used to design, pilot test, and evaluate the preliminary outcomes (ex. child consumption of sweetened beverages, child physical inactivity, etc) of a culturally appropriate 8-week family intervention focusing on building family consensus on healthy behaviors for young children by using an intervention and comparison group design.
In Aim 3, the feasibility, acceptability, and sustainability of this intervention will be evaluated via debriefing sessions and caregiver surveys The proposed studies will provide the critical data to develop an R01 proposal to evaluate the effectiveness of a culturally tailored intervention in a larger randomized controlled trial. These studies will produce innovative approaches and new knowledge that is responsive to NIDDK's mission to improve weight outcomes of all individuals and its priorities to address family-based interventions to prevent excess weight gain in young children within high-risk populations. The resources and institutional support at UCLA, talented multi-disciplinary mentorship team, and proposed career development activities, will allow the candidate to achieve her long-term goal of becoming an independent investigator and nationally recognized expert on community-based interventions to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in childhood obesity.
Addressing childhood obesity has important implications to decrease childhood and adulthood obesity and the related morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. The proposed research is relevant to public health because it addresses the development of effective family interventions that promote age-specific and guideline- recommended nutritional, physical activity, and media-viewing practices to prevent childhood obesity.