A randomized clinical trial of the effects of parent mentors on early childhood obesity: Study design and baseline data

Byron A. Foster, Christian Aquino, Mario Gil, Glenn Flores, Daniel Hale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Background: Few effective community-based interventions exist for early childhood obesity. Parent mentors have been successful as an intervention for other conditions, but have not been used in childhood obesity. We designed an intervention for early childhood obesity using parent mentors and a positive outlier approach to assess potential efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability. Methods: This trial enrolled obese (≥. 95th BMI percentile for age and gender) 2-5-year-old children in a Head Start program and their parents, with allocation to either parent mentors trained in positively deviant behaviors regarding childhood obesity, or community health workers delivering health education on obesity-related behaviors. The primary outcome is body mass index z-score change at the six-month follow-up assessment. Secondary outcomes include feeding behaviors and practices, health-related quality of life, dietary intake, and participation levels. Results: We enrolled three parent mentors and 60 parent-child dyads. The population is 100% Hispanic; 44% of parents speak Spanish as their primary language and 45% were not high-school graduates. Children had a reported median vegetable and fruit intake of 0.3 and 1.1 cups per day, respectively, at baseline, and a median daily screen time of three hours. There was no intergroup difference in quality-of-life scores at baseline. Retention has been high, at 90% in three months. Conclusions: In this randomized trial of the effects of parent mentors on early childhood obesity, parent-child dyads from an underserved, Hispanic population were successfully enrolled through a partnership with a Head Start organization, with a high retention rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-169
Number of pages6
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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