206713 Healthy GrandFamilies Initiative: Engaging grandparent caregivers in child obesity prevention

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:00 AM

Amanda S. Birnbaum, PhD, MPH , Department of Health & Nutrition Sciences, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Woodie Kessel, MD, MPH , Department of Family Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
B. J. Carter, MS , Healthy Directions, Preventive Medicine Institute/Healthy Children Healthy Futures, New York, NY
The Healthy GrandFamilies Initiative (HGI) is a project with a unique approach to preventing childhood obesity: focusing on caregiver grandparents. Millions of grandparents provide care every day to their grandchildren - before/after school, on weekends, and evenings, influencing the choices they make. Yet grandparents are often not formally appreciated nor empowered in childrearing, lacking up-to-date information and trusted sources. HGI conducted formative evaluation with caregiver grandparents, who named pediatricians as key trusted information sources. Consequently, HGI developed with input from grandparents, community partners, experts, national guidelines, and research literature a set of 6 culturally competent workshops: Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Messages, Healthy Portions, Healthy Activities, Healthy Screen Time, and Healthy Eating In/Out. Workshop implementation was piloted by pediatricians in community-based programs in 4 sites. Evaluations indicated high feasibility and satisfaction for pediatricians and grandparents and suggested favorable behavior and attitude change among grandparents. This presentation highlights results, lessons-learned and next steps for HGI. Matched pre-post surveys are available for 51 grandparents; most female, Black/African American or Latino, and half co-resident with grandchildren. From pre-posttest, significant increases were noted in the percent of grandparents reporting any past-month leisure-time physical activity (their own) and healthy feeding practices (for grandchildren). Small non-significant improvements in fruit/vegetable intake and reductions in fruit/vegetable barriers were noted, and surprisingly, increases in television viewing. The pilot also revealed great heterogeneity of age, health concerns, family needs and neighborhood contexts among participating grandparents, and additional training needs for facilitators, which will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Define grandfamilies and explain the concept of healthy grandfamilies. 2. Describe the advantages of enlisting grandparent caregivers in childhood obesity prevention efforts. 3. Explain how community-based workshops facilitated by pediatricians can help educate and empower grandparents as role models and advocates for healthy eating and physical activity

Keywords: Family Involvement, Pediatrics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a doctorate in behavioral epidemiology and an MPH in maternal & child health. I conduct research and publis articles on promoting physical activity and healthy eating and I teach on these topics and on program evaluation at graduate and undergraduate levels.
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.