The Impact of a Family-Based Assessment and Intervention Healthy Lifestyle Programme on Health Knowledge and Beliefs of Children with Obesity and Their Families
Te’o DT., Wild CEK., Willing EJ., Wynter LE., O’Sullivan NA., Hofman PL., Maessen SE., Derraik JGB., Anderson YC.
Objective: To determine the impact of a family-based assessment-and-intervention healthy lifestyle programme on health knowledge and beliefs of children and families affected by obesity. Second, to compare the health knowledge of the programme cohort to those of a national cohort in Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ). Design: This mixed-methods study collected health knowledge and health belief data in a questionnaire at baseline and 12-, 24-, and 60-month follow-up assessments. Health knowledge over time was compared with baseline knowledge and with data from a nationally representative survey. A data-driven subsumption approach was used to analyse open-text responses to health belief questions across the study period. Setting: Taranaki region, a mixed urban–rural setting in NZ. Participants: Participants (caregiver/child dyads) from the Whānau Pakari randomised trial. Results: A greater proportion of the cohort correctly categorised foods and drinks as healthy or unhealthy at 12 months compared to baseline for most questionnaire items. Retention of this health knowledge was evident at 24- and 60-month follow-ups. More than twice as many participants correctly reported physical activity recommendations at follow-up compared to baseline (p < 0.001). Health knowledge of participants was similar to the national survey cohort at baseline, but surpassed it at 12 and 24 months. Participant beliefs around healthy lifestyles related to physical functioning, mental and emotional wellbeing, and enhancement of appearance, and gained greater depth and detail over time. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the important role that community-level healthy lifestyle programmes can have in knowledge-sharing and health promotion.