School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

Examining receptivity to peer support and the use of an adult pre-diabetic online program for healthy behavior adaptations and maintenance in overweight or obese adolescents.

Document Type

Poster

Abstract Category

Obesity

Keywords

pediatric obesity, peer support, weight management, behavior change, m-health

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2019

Abstract

By NHANES-2012, <1% of American youth meet nutritional guidelines and 2/3 are sedentary, even as the prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance and associated comorbid conditions rise. It is estimated that close to 50% of this health burden could be lifted with improved evidence-based lifestyle habits. Effective motivation of meaningful behavioral change needs to include not only what to do, but why and how – and this takes time. Technology has an emerging role in both the lives of adolescents and in the healthcare system, offering new venues that can increase the exposure time to healthy messaging. We present a small exploratory 16-week study of six adolescents, aged 15-18, recruited from the weight management Clinic at Children's National Health System. Participants were enrolled in a validated adult online pre-diabetes behavior modification program (ALIVE-PD) previously shown to change behavior and cardiometabolic outcomes favorably. Enrollees participated in group weekly moderated video-chat sessions. The aim was to evaluate program effectiveness in this age group while also studying putative connections between online interactions, peer support, behavior change, and weight management. Receptivity to the messaging was universally positive. All six participants appreciated the freedom to interact with content regularly and when most convenient for their own schedules. All felt that ALIVE-PD programmatic support for behavior modification via goal setting and activity and nutrition tracking contributed positively to maintaining their own healthy lifestyle behaviors. Of the five participants who completed the study, all found that peer support received through weekly video-chat sessions, such as sharing of successes and tribulations, was valuable. The most prominent feedback provided to assist in the development of an adolescent version of ALIVE-PD (100%) was to increase program interactivity by creating a fully-functional mobile application and by including hyperlinks to supplemental material, such as videos and recipes, within the educational content of the program. Other suggestions included increased incentivization and allowing for enhanced personalization of weekly participant goals. Overall, all participants reported this program helped them build a foundation for healthier lifestyle decisions and/or increased their motivation to continue leading healthy lives. Future directions include program conversion to a smartphone-compatible application and exploration of expansion of group membership, such as inclusion of family members, for increased healthy lifestyle support. Exponential growth in smartphone ownership makes m-health interventions both timely and feasible, and this small project contributes to the evidence as to what makes them most effective.

Open Access

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Comments

Presented at Research Days 2019.

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Examining receptivity to peer support and the use of an adult pre-diabetic online program for healthy behavior adaptations and maintenance in overweight or obese adolescents.

By NHANES-2012, <1% of American youth meet nutritional guidelines and 2/3 are sedentary, even as the prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance and associated comorbid conditions rise. It is estimated that close to 50% of this health burden could be lifted with improved evidence-based lifestyle habits. Effective motivation of meaningful behavioral change needs to include not only what to do, but why and how – and this takes time. Technology has an emerging role in both the lives of adolescents and in the healthcare system, offering new venues that can increase the exposure time to healthy messaging. We present a small exploratory 16-week study of six adolescents, aged 15-18, recruited from the weight management Clinic at Children's National Health System. Participants were enrolled in a validated adult online pre-diabetes behavior modification program (ALIVE-PD) previously shown to change behavior and cardiometabolic outcomes favorably. Enrollees participated in group weekly moderated video-chat sessions. The aim was to evaluate program effectiveness in this age group while also studying putative connections between online interactions, peer support, behavior change, and weight management. Receptivity to the messaging was universally positive. All six participants appreciated the freedom to interact with content regularly and when most convenient for their own schedules. All felt that ALIVE-PD programmatic support for behavior modification via goal setting and activity and nutrition tracking contributed positively to maintaining their own healthy lifestyle behaviors. Of the five participants who completed the study, all found that peer support received through weekly video-chat sessions, such as sharing of successes and tribulations, was valuable. The most prominent feedback provided to assist in the development of an adolescent version of ALIVE-PD (100%) was to increase program interactivity by creating a fully-functional mobile application and by including hyperlinks to supplemental material, such as videos and recipes, within the educational content of the program. Other suggestions included increased incentivization and allowing for enhanced personalization of weekly participant goals. Overall, all participants reported this program helped them build a foundation for healthier lifestyle decisions and/or increased their motivation to continue leading healthy lives. Future directions include program conversion to a smartphone-compatible application and exploration of expansion of group membership, such as inclusion of family members, for increased healthy lifestyle support. Exponential growth in smartphone ownership makes m-health interventions both timely and feasible, and this small project contributes to the evidence as to what makes them most effective.