The goal of this Mentored Career Development Award (K01) is to enable Dr. Becky Marquez to become an independent investigator focused on developing interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors by targeting social support networks to promote eating and exercise behaviors conducive to weight management for Latinas. Given the relationship between obesity and cardiovascular disease, it is imperative that intervention studies address weight management among Mexican-American women, a group disproportionately affected by obesity. A dyad-level intervention partnering mothers and their adult daughters may be a culturally salient and effective approach to improve diet and physical activity. Because communication among family members can impact health behaviors, promoting communication that facilitates healthy eating and physical activity could help build an interpersonal environment that supports weight management among mothers and daughters. An intervention that addresses communication competency is especially warranted for Latino families as dissonance in acculturation between parent and child can interfere with effective communication and increase conflict. The purpose of the proposed study is to develop, implement, and evaluate a behavioral weight management intervention with a communication training component for Mexican-American women. The study has three specific aims.
Aim 1 : Develop a behavioral weight loss intervention that modifies evidence-based behavioral weight loss treatment using results from formative data collected from Mexican-American mother-daughter dyads. The adapted intervention will focus on improving dyadic communication and collaboration for providing reciprocal support for healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.
Aim 2 : Implement and evaluate a pilot weight management program adapted for mother-daughter dyads. Dyads will be randomly assigned to partner-based treatment with or without communication skills training. We hypothesize that participants receiving partner-based treatment with communication skills training will have better treatment adherence, study retention, and weight loss compared to those receiving partner-based treatment alone.
Aim 3 : Evaluate associations between changes in weight, weight-related behaviors, and psychosocial variables with changes in measures assessing interpersonal communication. We expect weight loss and improvements in diet, physical activity and psychosocial variables, such as social support, to be significantly associated with improvements in communication. The training plan, through didactic education and direct mentorship, will allow Dr. Marquez to develop skills and experience in: 1) the conduct and analysis of randomized clinical trials (with an emphasis on partner-based interventions), 2) the etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of obesity, 3) interpersonal communication skills training, and 4) writing and communication of scientific work. The environment at UC San Diego and expert team of mentors will enable Dr. Marquez to achieve her training and research goals.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity is disproportionately higher in Mexican-American women, and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A dyad-level intervention partnering mothers and their adult daughters may be a culturally salient and effective approach to improve diet and physical activity and thus promote healthy weight management. Although acculturation differences can contribute to discordant weight-related attitudes and behaviors between Mexican- American mothers and daughters, an intervention that accounts for these differences while promoting communication that facilitates behaviors conducive to weight management could help build an interpersonal environment that supports weight loss maintenance.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1)
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Boyington, Josephine
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University of California, San Diego
Schools of Medicine
La Jolla
United States
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