BMC public health 2018 04 0618(1) 459 doi 10.1186/s12889-018-5354-4
Systematic reviews conclude that interventions to prevent overweight and obesity in children obtain stronger effects when parents are involved. Parenting practices and parent-child interactions shape children’s health-related behaviours. The Healthy School Start Plus intervention aims to promote healthy dietary habits and physical activity and prevent obesity in children through parental support in disadvantaged areas with increased health needs, delivered by teachers and school nurses. This protocol describes the design, outcome and process evaluation of the study.
Effectiveness of the intervention is compared to standard care within school health services. The 6-month programme, based on Social Cognitive Theory, consists of four components: 1) Health information to parents regarding the child; 2) Motivational Interviewing with the parents by the school nurse concerning the child; 3) classroom activities for the children by teachers; and 4) a web-based self-test of type-2 diabetes risk by parents. Effects will be studied in a cluster randomised trial including 17 schools and 352 six-year old children. The primary outcome is dietary intake of indicator foods, and secondary outcomes are physical activity, sedentary behaviour and BMI. Outcomes will be measured at baseline, at 6 months directly after the intervention, and at follow-up 18 months post baseline. Statistical analysis will be by mixed-effect regression analysis according to intention to treat and per protocol. Mediation analysis will be performed with parental self-efficacy and parenting practices. Quantitative and qualitative methods will be used to study implementation in terms of dose, fidelity, feasibility and acceptability. The hypothesis is that the programme will be more effective than standard care and feasible to perform in the school context.
The programme is in line with the cumulated evidence regarding the prevention of childhood obesity: That schools should be a focal point of prevention efforts, interventions should involve multiple components, and include the home environment. If effective, it will fill a knowledge gap concerning evidence-based health promotion practice within school health services to prevent obesity, and in the long term reduce social inequalities in health.
The trial was retrospectively registered on January 4, 2018 and available online at ClinicalTrials.gov : No. NCT03390725 .