Healthy Habits, Happy Homes: Methods and baseline data of a randomized controlled trial to improve household routines for obesity prevention

ArticleinPreventive Medicine 55(5) · August 2012with35 Reads
Impact Factor: 3.09 · DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.08.016 · Source: PubMed


    To develop a home-based intervention for parents of 2-5 year old children to promote household routines to prevent overweight/obesity.

    We recruited 121 children from health centers in Boston between 2011 and 2012 and randomized 62 to intervention and 59 to the control condition. The 6-month intervention included 1) motivational coaching at home and by phone with a health educator, 2) mailed educational materials, and 3) weekly text messages. The intervention promoted three household routines: eating meals as a family, obtaining adequate sleep, and limiting screen time.

    Of the 121 children, mean (SD) age was 4.0 (1.1) years; 52% were Hispanic, 34% Black, and 14% White/Other. Nearly 60% of the sample had annual household incomes ≤ $20,000. Approximately 64% of families reported eating together ≥ 7 times per week, however, many meals were eaten in front of a TV. Over half of the children slept less than the recommended 11h/night and 78% viewed ≥ 2 h/day of screen time.

    Household routines that increase obesity risk were prevalent among low-income families in this study. If proven to be effective, promotion of household routines related to family meals, sleep, and screen time may prevent young children from becoming overweight/obese.