Efficacy and Sustainability Evaluation of PATH, a Childhood Obesity Program

In NYC, over 20% of elementary school aged children are obese, but the burden is greater in populations of color and economically disadvantaged areas of NYC. We propose a pilot study to evaluate a 6-week intensive lifestyle modification program designed for parents of obese children (5-12 years of age), called Parents as Teachers and Healers (PATH). PATH is a novel pilot program of Live Light Live Right (LLLR), a comprehensive childhood obesity management program serving North Central Brooklyn since 2003. LLLR offers a multi-level, integrated care model with four key components: medical screening/treatment, nutrition education, behavioral counseling, and referral to supervised physical fitness.

Among participants enrolled in the program for an average of 18 months, 80% reduced their BMI score. Given these results, LLLR’s population reach and long history serving the community, there is a clear need to evaluate the efficacy of integrating PATH within an experimental context. Our pilot study will generate data for an efficacy and sustainability evaluation of PATH. We will randomize 16 families to either: 1) LLLR usual care vs. 2) LLLR usual care plus participation in PATH. LLLR usual care consists of the existing services provided which are detailed medical obesity assessment, counseling with a certified nutritionist, and referral to structured exercise program run by key community partners. The long-term goal of PATH is to improve the BMI and metabolic profile of the children of parents who participate in PATH. In the near-term, our Specific Aims are to: 1) qualitatively examine parents’ ability to model and instill long term habits in their children that support healthy living; 2) examine differences in quality of life (QoL), diet and activity behavior modification in children before and after intervention; 3) assess adoption and implementation of the PATH program (process evaluation); and 4) analyze costs of integrating PATH into LLLR existing structure.