152451 Parents' prescription for providers: What fathers are saying about preventing childhood overweight

Monday, November 5, 2007: 5:00 PM

Lisa M. Lowenstein, MPH RD , Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Maihan B. Vu, DrPH, MPH , Center for HPDP, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Lisa Pullen-Davis, PhD, MSPH , Center for HPDP, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Eliana Perrin, MD, MPH , Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Melida Colindres, MPH , Inter-AM, Chapel Hill, NC
Diane Berry, PhD, CANP , School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Alice Ammerman, DrPH, RD , Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
To combat the childhood overweight epidemic, it is essential that effective dialogue occurs between health care providers and African American, Hispanic, and Caucasian parents. Providers usually focus their communication with mothers, but fathers have an underappreciated role. As part of the formative assessment phase, focus groups were conducted with fathers to inform the development of Kids Eating Smart and Moving More, a 2-year, interdisciplinary, multi-clinic randomized trial. Participants from diverse educational and economic backgrounds were recruited from North Carolina. A total of 4 focus groups with 24 fathers were conducted with African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic fathers to assess experiences and perceptions of relationships with providers regarding obesity prevention. The findings revealed several common themes among African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic fathers. They expressed a strong desire to be more involved in their child's health care. Yet fathers generally felt left out during appointments as providers tended to focus more on mothers. Likewise, fathers talked about the need to establish rapport by speaking the language of the people; the importance of the provider's tone and the context in which the conversation occurs; and ensuring that their parenting skills are not criticized. Lastly fathers said that they were more open to talking about nutrition and physical activity if it was framed within the context of health or medical issues. Providers will benefit by understanding that fathers want and do have a role in preventing childhood obesity. This may help them to start difficult conversations more effectively and stop a growing epidemic.

Learning Objectives:
Be able to understand fathersí receptivity regarding provider counseling on nutrition and physical activity to prevent childhood overweight. Be able to describe strategies that encourage the fathersí participation in specific interventions to promote healthy lifestyles for their children and prevent childhood overweight or obesity.

Keywords: Obesity, Family/Consumer Perspective

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.