Latinx children in the US experience a disproportionate burden of childhood obesity and overweight, which can have a negative impact on their lifelong health. Recent guidelines on childhood obesity call for intensive healthcare-based interventions. When available, these are impractical for Latinx families facing language, financial, and other barriers to engagement with healthcare systems.
We pilot tested Active and Healthy Families (AHF), a family-based group medical appointment program developed by Contra Costa’s Health Services Department, in a clinic in Baltimore, MD serving children of immigrant Latinx parents. AHF consists of 8 biweekly group sessions and 3 follow up sessions led by a bilingual team composed of a nutritionist, a pediatrician and a Community Health Worker. 3 cohorts have completed the program (n=~11 parent-child dyads per cohort). Inclusion criteria include child between the ages of 5-12 with BMI percentile of >85%, with a parent whose primary language is Spanish.Primary outcomes were feasibility and acceptability as measured by attendance. Participants' BMI trajectory is the secondary outcome and will be abstracted from the Electronic Medical Record and compared to a sample of matched historical controls.
32 children were recruited for participation (cohort 1=10, cohort 2=12, cohort 3=10). Overall session attendance was 79% (cohort 1=76%, cohort 2=81%, cohort 3=81%). Parents provided helpful feedback on future program modifications and indicated their favorite sessions were those regarding the sugar content of beverages and lipids. Analysis of BMI trajectory is underway.
We have successfully implemented an intensive and culturally-appropriate intervention aimed at treating obesity in Latinx children. As measured by attendance, the intervention is feasible and acceptable. We will soon complete analysis of data on BMI trajectory. In order to reduce disparities in child obesity, Latinx children must be included in future intervention trials.