Changes in healthy eating knowledge and attitudes of caregivers attending a family-based pediatric obesity program

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McFadden, Marni
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Background: Pediatric obesity is a serious health issue, with an exceedingly high prevalence, having both short and long-term consequences. The Family Lifestyle Program (FLP) provides treatment services to families struggling with pediatric overweight and obesity living in the Winnipeg Health Region. Purpose: To determine whether caregivers’ nutrition knowledge and/or their attitudes about nutrition change as a result of attending the family group education sessions of the FLP. Methods: In this quantitative exploratory research, 17 caregivers (68% female) attended at least four out of five family group education sessions and completed a self-administered survey over three time periods of the program intervention, spanning approximately eight weeks from Time 1 to Time 3. Results: Caregiver nutrition knowledge did not change. Significant changes in three of the four attitude measures across three time periods were observed, related to caregiver attitudes toward their child’s and their own eating habits, program specific nutrition content (label reading and meal planning), and the perceived effort in providing foods to family and in role modelling of healthy behaviours to family members. Conclusions: The family group education sessions assisted the caregivers apply nutrition knowledge through participation in the program intervention, to improve their confidence with following healthy eating principles and role modelling these behaviours to their family members.
pediatric obesity, caregivers, parents, nutrition, attitudes, knowledge