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Introduction of a conversation starter tool to improve health habits in young children

Published:October 20, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2022.09.024

      Abstract

      Background

      Childhood overweight and obesity rates in the United States continue to climb. Providers must identify feasible interventions to improve health habits to prevent and treat obesity in children.

      Methods

      Parents (n = 91) of four-to eight-year-old children were recruited and surveyed regarding their child’s current health habits and perception of their child’s weight status. A conversation starter tool was developed and utilized to improve health habits in children ages four-to-eight over a period of four-to-six weeks.

      Findings

      Health habits in children improved in the comparison and intervention groups. There was a 42% improvement in health habits in the intervention group who chose a specific goal to work on compared to 30% improvement in the comparison group. There was no statistically significant relationship between health habit adherence and the assigned group when assessing the health habits individually.

      Discussion

      Overall, 42% of the selected goals were met, according to parent report at the follow-up survey; however, use of the conversation starter tool did not demonstrate statistically significant improvement in health habits. Parental perception of children’s weight status remained unchanged. Health habits in children improved in the comparison and intervention groups. Further studies should enroll a larger sample to assess differences between these two groups.

      Application to practice

      The conversation starter tool was designed to be implemented into practice without the need for any specific training. The tool can be used on all children to promote improved health habits.

      Keywords

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