205385 Obesity prevention for preschoolers: Happy Healthy Preschooler program

Monday, November 9, 2009

Elizabeth G. Klein, PhD, MPH , Division of Health Behavior & Health Promotion, Ohio State University College of Public Health, Columbus, OH
Robert Murray, MD , Center for Health Weight and Nutrition, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH
Jennifer Kuck, MS, RD, LD , Center for Health Weight and Nutrition, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH
Gail L. Kaye, PhD, LPCC, RD, LD , Department of Human Nutrition, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Phyllis Pirie, PhD , Health Behavior and Health Promotion, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
In Columbus, Ohio, 38% of urban kindergarteners are overweight or obese. Low-income families are at an even higher risk due to additional barriers to the adoption of health promoting behaviors to prevent obesity. This early onset of obesity is likely to persist through the lifespan, along with the poor nutrition and physical activity patterns that contribute to the problem. In very young children, parents play a key role in the establishment of physical activity and nutrition habits. To promote healthy behaviors in the home, a community-based collaborative created the evidence-based Happy Healthy Preschooler (HHP) program. This program promotes concrete ways parents can establish health promoting habits for their children between the ages of one to six. Sessions emphasize hands-on skill development on the topics of healthy beverage choice, portion sizes, television alternatives, dinner as a family, the importance of daily breakfast, and physically active play time. The chosen messages are based on the Expert Committee Recommendations for obesity prevention, and the experiential activities aim to build skills and confidence to engage in health behavior change. Preliminary results suggest parental self-efficacy improved from pre- to post-test assessment, particularly around issues of television and healthy snack choices; an increase in active play with the TV off was also reported. Results from the pre- and post-tests from HHP sessions in 2009 will be shared. Given the positive early findings, the HHP program has the potential to be an effective early intervention to help address the serious problem of childhood obesity.

Learning Objectives:
1. To describe at least three prevention messages identified in the Expert Committee Recommendations. 2. To list two specific strategies parents can implement to prevent obesity in very young children.

Keywords: Community-Based Health Promotion, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Klein has spent the last 13 years working in research and practice in public health, primarily focused on disease prevention in the areas of tobacco use and obesity. Her current area of emphasis is on preschool obesity prevention using environmental strategies to increase physical activity and improve nutrition in very young children. More broadly, Dr. Klein is working to identify and promote environmental and policy strategies in public health prevention, particularly as it relates to childhood obesity. She is currently involved in the evaluation of a community-based program to prevent obesity in very young children through skills-based behavior change for the parents of preschoolers living in high-risk, low-income communities. Recent employment: December 2008 to present: Assistant Professor, Ohio State University College of Public Health, Health Behavior Health Promotion Division, Columbus, OH. Research interests include the prevention of chronic disease through childhood obesity prevention and tobacco use prevention. Teaching responsibilities include Community Health Assessment. January 2008 to August 2008: Senior Research Associate, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH. Design a brief intervention program called “Happy Healthy Preschoolers” for low-income families with overweight preschool aged children (ages 1 to 6). October 2007 to present: Research Associate, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN. Responsibilities include data analysis and manuscript preparation on the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort (MACC) study on youth smoking behaviors. Education: 2007, Doctorate of Philosophy in Epidemiology, with an emphasis in health behavior. University of Minnesota 2002, Masters of Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics. University of California at Berkeley 1995, Bachelors of Science, Community Health Education. Western Michigan University Relevant publications: Klein EG, Lytle LA, Chen V. (2008). Social ecological predictors of the transition to overweight in youth: Results from the Teens Eating for Energy and Nutrition at Schools (TEENS) study. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 108(7): 1163-1169. Groner JA, Skybo T, Murray-Johnson L, Schwirian P, Eneli I, Sternstein A, Klein EG, French G. Anticipatory Guidance for Prevention of Childhood Obesity – Design of the MOMS Study. Clinical Pediatrics. Accepted.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.