This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final. In the meantime, results have been published in peer-reviewed journals, as listed below.
What is the research about?
Childhood obesity is a serious health problem that affects children and teenagers. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Childhood obesity affects nearly one in five children in the United States. Children with obesity are more likely to develop serious health problems that usually affect adults. These health problems include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and liver disease. Children with obesity also often deal with depression, low self-esteem, and bullying.
This study focuses on Virginia’s Dan River region, where childhood obesity is about three times higher than the rest of the state. This region also has a shortage of healthcare providers and lacks effective programs to reduce obesity in children. This study is comparing the effects of two programs that other studies show worked to reduce weight in children who are overweight or obese.
Who can this research help?
Healthcare and community organizations can use findings from the study to plan efforts to reduce childhood obesity.
What is the research team doing?
In this study, the research team is working with schools and clinics to enroll 174 families with children ages 8 to 12 who are overweight or obese and who live in Virginia’s Dan River Region.
The team is assigning families by chance to one of two six-month programs to address childhood obesity. Both programs focus on how parents and the home environment can improve children’s exercise and eating behaviors. The first program, iChoose+, is for parents and children. Families receive 12 educational classes and 24 exercise classes at a community center. They also receive 24 phone calls for support and a newsletter for children. The second program, Family Connections, is for parents only and includes two educational classes and 10 phone calls for support.
At 3, 6, and 12 months after the start of the study, the research team is tracking the children’s weight. The team is also collecting information about parents’ weight and families’ eating and exercise behaviors.
The research team is working with a group of community organizations and healthcare professionals and a group of parents of overweight children. Both groups are helping to plan the study, create materials, recruit families, collect and analyze data, and share findings.
Research methods at a glance
|Design||Randomized controlled trial|
|Population||Families with children ages 8 to 12 who are overweight or obese and live in the Dan River Region of Virginia|
Primary: child body mass index (BMI)
Secondary: parent BMI; child self-reported diet, physical activity, quality of life, health literacy, and home environment
|6-month follow-up for primary outcome|
Other Health Services Interventions
Training and Education Interventions
Other Stakeholder Partners
^The PI was affiliated with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University when the project was initially awarded.