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Evaluation of a Childhood Obesity Prevention Online Training Certificate Program for Community Family Educators

Abstract

Community family educators have the opportunity to incorporate childhood obesity prevention concepts in their programming with families of young children, but often lack formal health and nutrition education. The purpose of this feasibility study was to create an online training certificate program for community family educators and assess the program’s effectiveness at improving participant’s knowledge, attitudes, and intended and actual behaviors related to healthy lifestyles. Community family educators (n = 68) completed an online pretest, viewed 13 brief videos (8–15 min) focused on childhood obesity related topics and took mini-knowledge self-checks after each video followed by an online posttest. At posttest, paired t tests showed participants’ childhood obesity prevention related knowledge (i.e., nutrition, physical activity, screen time and sleep) improved significantly (p < 0.001). Participants’ attitudes toward parenting behaviors related to feeding practices, family meals, physical activity, screen time control and parent modeling significantly (p < 0.05) improved. Improvements also were seen in participants’ intentions to promote obesity prevention behaviors (i.e., age appropriate portions sizes, adequate physically active, and parental role modeling). Furthermore, changes in personal health behaviors at posttest revealed participants had significantly (p < 0.05) greater dietary restraint, improvements in sleep quality, and reductions of use of electronic devices during meals and snacks. Overall, participants were very satisfied with the training program, felt comfortable with skills acquired, and enjoyed the program. Findings suggest this online training program is a feasible and effective method for improving community family educators’ knowledge, attitudes, and intentions for obesity-prevention related parenting practices.

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Funding

This study was funded by USDA NIFA (Grant #2011-68001-30170).

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Correspondence to Virginia Quick.

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Eck, K., Alleman, G.P., Quick, V. et al. Evaluation of a Childhood Obesity Prevention Online Training Certificate Program for Community Family Educators. J Community Health 41, 1187–1195 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-016-0200-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-016-0200-z

Keywords

  • Community family educator
  • Obesity
  • Child
  • Training program
  • Parent