Counseling to prevent obesity among preschool children: Acceptability of a pilot urban primary care intervention

M. Diane McKee, Stacia Maher, Darwin Deen, Arthur E. Blank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To help design effective primary care-based interventions, We explored urban parents' reactions to a pilot and feasibility study designed to address risk behaviors for obesity among preschool children. METHODS: We conducted 3 focus groups (2 in English 1 in Spanish) to evaluatethe pilot intervention. Focus group participants explored the acceptability of the pilot intervention components (completion of a new screening tool for risk assessment, Discussion of risk behaviors and behavior change goal setting by physicians, And follow-up contacts with a lifestyle counselor) and the fi delity of the pilot intervention delivery. RESULTS: Parents expressed a desire to change behaviors to achieve healthier families. They believed that doctors should increase their focus on healthy habits during visits. Parents were more accepting of nutrition discussions than increasing activity (citing a lack of safe outdoor space) or decreasing sedentary behaviors (citing many benefi ts of television viewing). Contacts with the lifestyle counselor were described as empowering, With parents noting her focus on strategies to achieve change for the whole family while recognizing that many food behaviors relate to cultural heritage. Parents expressed frustration with physicians for offering advice about changing behavior but not how to achieve it, For dismissing concerns about picky eating or undereating, And in some cases for labels of overweight that they believed were inappropriately applied. CONCLUSIONS: Parents welcomed efforts to address family lifestyle change in pediatric visits. The model of physician goal setting with referral for behavior change counseling is highly acceptable to families. Future interventions should acknowledge parental concerns about undereating and perceived benefi ts of television viewing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-255
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary modification
  • Health promotion
  • Minority
  • Obesity
  • Overweight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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