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2010 Research Abstract

Families Actively Improving Their Health Works: A Church Based Family Diabetes Prevention Program

Investigator: Shabnam Nourparvar, Mercer University School of Medicine
Mentor: John M. Boltri, MD, Mercer University School of Medicine

Obesity has become a major health concern in the US, with rates in children 2-19 years old tripling since 1980. Data show that family history of obesity correlates with childhood obesity. Churches have been identified as effective health intervention locations for adults and children. FAITH Works is a church based family diabetes risk reduction program. It is based on the National Institute of Health's Diabetes Prevention Program integrated with CATCH and Epstein's Stoplight Diet. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of implementing a church based family diabetes risk reduction program.

Children at risk for obesity were identified by relationship with a caregiver who was identified as overweight or obese based on >25 BMI with pre-diabetes based on measured HbA1C levels of 5.7-6.4. Adults and children attended six weekly concurrent complementary sessions on nutrition, exercise, and behavior change. The children and caregivers set individual and family goals.

The study included six adults and 10 children. Three of the children were identified as overweight or obese. The attendance rate for adults was 92% and 87% for children. According to survey data, the participants thought the material was appropriate for their age group. Results prove that the goals of the program, 7% weight loss for adults and 150 min/week physical activity and 85% BMI or 7% weight loss for kids and 60 min physical activity on most days, were achievable.

Identifying families at risk for diabetes with children 6-11 years old is feasible in a church setting. In future studies, larger groups are needed to participate. Since this was a feasibility study with a small number of children, they were not separated into two different age groups, 6-8 and 9-11. The long-term outcomes of the study will need to be evaluated.

Updated on June 8, 2011.