This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Health literacy refers to patients’ ability to understand basic health information to make health decisions. Parents with low health literacy may have trouble learning steps to promote healthy weight gain in their babies and prevent childhood obesity. For example, parents may not know the benefits of breastfeeding, how to mix formula correctly, or how to interpret food labels. They may not know that gaining too much weight quickly as a baby can cause health problems later in life.
In this study, the research team is comparing two ways to promote healthy weight gain and help prevent obesity. The first way is a program called Greenlight. Greenlight targets parents with low health literacy but is designed to help families of all literacy levels. At regular office check-ups, doctors trained in the program review health education booklets with parents. The booklets focus on breastfeeding, diet, physical activity, and parenting. Doctors help parents set goals around these behaviors.
The second way is called Greenlight Plus. In Greenlight Plus, parents receive the Greenlight program plus information to reinforce healthy behaviors between doctor visits. For example, parents get access to the Greenlight website and regular text messages on setting and reaching behavior goals that promote healthy weight gain for babies.
Who can this research help?
Results may help clinics when considering ways to help parents raise healthy children.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is recruiting 900 English- and Spanish-speaking parent-infant pairs from six primary care clinics. The team is assigning the pairs by chance to receive either Greenlight or Greenlight Plus for two years. At the start of the study and throughout the child’s first two years of life, the team is interviewing families and reviewing medical records to see how each baby is growing. The team wants to know how Greenlight and Greenlight Plus compare in promoting healthy weight gain for different groups based on language, race, ethnicity, and health literacy.
Families, clinicians, and experts in health communication helped design the Greenlight program. They are also helping to plan and conduct the study.
Research methods at a glance
Shared Decision Making
Training and Education Interventions