Development of a family-based treatment programme for childhood obesity using Intervention Mapping methods

  • Helen Pittson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Background Reviews of primary research in developed countries and policy in the UK demonstrate there is a lack of evidence from well conducted RCTs on lifestyle interventions for childhood obesity (NICE 2006, SIGN 2003, Oude Luttikhuis et al. 2009). Objectives To develop, implement and evaluate the Y W8? family focused childhood obesity treatment programme using a randomized controlled trial. Methods The programme was developed using Bartholomew’s Intervention Mapping framework. Using this stepped process a needs analysis was undertaken, a steering group formed, focus groups were completed in local schools and interviews took place with parents of obese children. The determinants identified by these processes were combined with relevant theories and information gathered through a literature review to develop the programme. Y W8? is a 12 week course for families with children aged 8–13 years designed to assist with weight management. The RCT was designed as an individually randomised parallel-group trial with a waiting-list control group. Children in the intervention group (n=59) had their height, weight, self-reported physical activity levels, self-reported fruit and vegetable consumption and a measure of self-esteem recorded at pre- and postassessment, whilst only height and weight was collected from the children in the control group (n=55). Results Twelve week (post course) results showed a significant difference in change in BMI zscore between the control and intervention group, mean difference = -0.12 (95% CI: 0.09 to 0.16, F (1, 98) = 54.04, p < 0.0005), with the control group increasing and the intervention group decreasing their BMI z-score. Analysis showed this positive effect on weight status did not adversely affect linear growth. For the intervention group 81% of children completed the programme. Implications This RCT offers evidence to support the use of family-based treatment programmes in the treatment of childhood obesity and displays positive results in the short-term, at a lower cost than similar interventions. The thesis also demonstrates how a public health programme can be implemented and sustained in routine NHS practice.
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorOrla Dunn (Supervisor)

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