Feasibility and efficacy of the “FUNPALs playgroup” intervention to improve toddler dietary and activity behaviors: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Aliye B. Cepni, Ashley Taylor, Christine Crumbley, Debbe Thompson, Nancy E. Moran, Norma Olvera, Daniel P. O’connor, Katherine R. Arlinghaus, Craig A. Johnston, Tracey A. Ledoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study evaluated the feasibility and effects of the Families Understanding Nutrition and Physically Active Lifestyles (FUNPALs) Playgroup on toddler (12–36-month-old) diet and activity behaviors. Parent–toddler dyads were recruited from disadvantaged communities and ran-domly assigned to receive 10-weekly sessions of the FUNPALs Playgroup (n = 24) or dose-matched health education control group (n = 26). FUNPALs Playgroups involved physical and snack activi-ties, delivery of health information, and positive parenting coaching. The control group involved group health education for parents only. Process outcomes (e.g., retention rate, fidelity) and focus groups determined feasibility and perceived effects. To evaluate preliminary effects, validated measures of toddler diet (food frequency questionnaire and a carotenoid biomarker), physical activity (PA; accelerometers), general and feeding parenting (self-report surveys), and home environment (phone interview) were collected pre and post. The sample comprised parents (84% female) who self-identified as Hispanic/Latino (38%) and/or African American (32%). Retention was high (78%). Parents from both groups enjoyed the program and perceived improvements in their chil-dren’s health behaviors. Objective measures demonstrated improvement with large effects (η2 = 0.29) in toddler diet (p < 0.001) but not PA (p = 0.099). In conclusion, the FUNPALs Playgroup is feasible and may improve toddler eating behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7828
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the University of Houston GEAR Grant; partial funding for Ashley Taylor was funded by an NIH/NCI-funded fellowship (grant number P20CA221697; PI: Lorraine R. Reitzel); and by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (CRIS 3092-51000-059-NEW2S; NEM). The contents of this work are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA or NIH NCI.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Houston GEAR Grant; partial funding for Ashley Taylor was funded by an NIH/NCI-funded fellowship (grant number P20CA221697; PI: Lor-raine R. Reitzel); and by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (CRIS 3092-51000-059-NEW2S; NEM). The contents of this work are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA or NIH NCI.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Activity
  • Diet
  • Early childhood
  • Obesity prevention
  • Playgroup

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

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