The use of mentoring programs to improve energy balance behaviors in high-risk children

Debra Haire-Joshu, Marilyn S. Nanney, Michael Elliott, Cynthia Davey, Nicole Caito, Deborah Loman, Ross C. Brownson, Matthew W. Kreuter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This study tested the impact of a multicomponent intervention entitled Partners of all Ages Reading About Diet and Exercise (PARADE) a child-focused energy balance intervention incorporated into mentoring programs. We used a group randomized nested cohort design randomizing mentoring program sites (n 119) and children (N = 782; females = 49%; African American = 37%; mean (s.d.) age 8.5 (1.5) years) to intervention or usual care conditions. PARADE mentors delivered eight lesson plans addressing key concepts related to diet and activity; eight child-focused computer-tailored storybooks with messages targeting that childs diet and activity patterns and eight parent action support newsletters. When compared to the control group, PARADE children were more knowledgeable of diet and activity guidelines (P < 0.01), challenged themselves more to eat five fruits and vegetables (FV) (P < 0.01) and be active 1h daily (P < 0.01), and to ask for FV for snack (P = 0.015). Calories from high fat foods decreased in overweight/obese children, but not for normal weight children (P = 0.059). There were no significant differences in fruit and vegetable intake, total calories, percent time being active, or BMI z-score. The combination of one-to-one mentoring, child-focused computer based tailoring, and parent support may impact important behavioral change precursors in environments over which the child has control, especially among normal weight children. Further, work is needed to evaluate the impact of family-focused multicomponent interventions, including computer-tailored approaches, directed toward both the parent and the child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S75-S83
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Feb 2010

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