Parent and Provider Perceptions of Use of the NIH We Can! Curriculum for Group Visits In Primary Care to Treat Child Overweight and Obesity

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As part of a cluster randomized controlled trial of a parent-mediated approach to treating overweight and obese children ages 5-11 years in Southern Appalachia, feedback on use of the NIH We Can! curriculum for parent group visit sessions in primary care was obtained from parents and providers in two intervention clinics.

Parents/caregivers of 28 children in two primary care clinics were randomized to the intervention group to participate in four on-site 1.5 hour group sessions held every other week during an 8-10 week period. Five primary care providers (PCPs) in the two clinics were trained to lead the group sessions using the NIH We Can! online training and an additional 1-hour face-to-face training conducted by the project team. The Project Coordinator and one project team clinician (Pediatrician, Pediatric Psychologist, or Registered Dietician (RD)) was present during each group visit to answer any questions about the study protocol, behavior (Pediatric Psychologist) or nutrition/eating (RD). The Project Coordinator or RD called each parent during the week following each group visit to discuss the family’s progress and answer questions. Written feedback surveys were completed by parents and focus groups were conducted with providers following the last group session. Provider focus groups were recorded and later transcribed and coded to indentify themes.

Among 22 (79%) parents/caregivers who completed group sessions and a feedback survey, 91% agreed/strongly agreed that “this program was very useful to me as a parent.” In addition, 95% said that they would “recommend We Can! to a friend” citing benefiting from information received from healthcare providers and parents as well as the opportunity for “fellowship” with other parents. All five PCPs led at least 1 or 2 group sessions and participated in focus groups. Most PCPs agreed that the We Can! leader’s guide and training prepared them to lead the group sessions. All providers reported that preparation time to lead a session (15-90 minutes) was reasonable. On average, providers perceived the group sessions to be moderately effective in promoting healthier eating, physical activity, and reducing screen time in their patients. Some providers were interested in continuing to offer a monthly group session for long-term support.

These findings suggest parent and healthcare provider acceptability of using NIH We Can! parent group sessions to treat child overweight in primary care.


Boston, MA

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