PCIT-Health: An Innovative Intervention for Childhood Obesity Prevention

  • Sarah E. Domoff
  • Larissa N. Niec


Childhood obesity remains a major public health issue both in the United States and globally. Obesity is associated with numerous health risks; children with obesity are more likely to experience cardiometabolic problems and remain obese into adolescence and adulthood. Given the prevalence of childhood obesity and the serious health risks associated with it, the development of effective prevention programs for obesity in early childhood is crucial. In this chapter, we describe the theoretical rationale for, and development of PCIT-Health, an innovative child obesity prevention program. PCIT-Health is an adaptation of a selective prevention model of PCIT. The PCIT-Health model maintains the core components of PCIT (behavioral assessment, in vivo coaching, parent–child relationship focus) and includes the addition of a health module (Health-directed Interaction, HDI). Parents and children progress to the HDI phase after completing CDI and PDI. The primary goal of HDI is for parents to generalize the skills they learned in the first two phases to contexts that are relevant to a child’s obesity risk: mealtime and screen time. Like the CDI and PDI phases, the HDI phase begins with a teach session, during which parents receive information about positive (or risk-reducing) parenting around feeding style and feeding practices and parenting around screen time (i.e., media parenting). PCIT-Health has the potential to enhance parenting effectiveness, not only around children’s general conduct problems, but also specifically around interactions during feeding and screen time.


Obesity Health Parental mediation Feeding practices Screen time Media parenting Television Eating behaviors 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Center for Children, Families, and CommunitiesCentral Michigan UniversityMount PleasantUSA

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