Behaviour changes following a multidisciplinary intervention for overweight and obese adolescents
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Introduction: Around one quarter of Australian adolescents are overweight or obese. Recent reviews have highlighted the gap in evidence around the effectiveness of interventions to prevent the progression to morbid obesity, especially during adolescence. Therefore the purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a multi-disciplinary, family-centred intervention targeting activity, food and behaviour change in overweight/obese adolescents. Method: 30 adolescents completed an 8 week program in school terms 2, 3 and 4 in 2009 and terms 2 and 3 in 2010. Curtin University’s Activity, Food and Attitudes Program (CAFAP) consisted of twice weekly sessions of 2 h duration. Adolescents participated in a 1 h exercise program at each session followed by education and support sessions. Parents participated in education and support sessions for both hours, sometimes with their children. Sessions were facilitated by physiotherapy, dietetics, psychology and social work professionals and undergraduate/postgraduate students. The goal of the program was sustainable behaviour change in relation to physical activity, healthy diet and a positive attitude, rather than weight loss.Results: Activity initially increased after the program (pre daily accelerometer count mean 856 (95% confidence interval 619–1093); post 916 (577–1255)) but was reduced at 3 month follow-up (720 (603–838) n = 7). Daily serves of vegetables and fruits were greater at follow-up (e.g. vegetables pre 1.2 (0.6–1.7), post 1.4 (0.7–2.1), 3 month 1.4 (0.2–2.7)). Daily intake of extras and fats were reduced at follow-up (extras pre 4.0 (1.8–6.1), post 3.1 (2.2–3.8), 3 month 3.4 (1.6–5.1)). Qualitative data were also collected. The results will be presented in relation to attitudes and reported activity for up to 6 months follow-up. Conclusion: Participation in the CAFAP program resulted in some pleasing changes in behaviours by adolescents with regards to increased daily intake of fruit and vegetable serves and decreased intake of fat. There were also initial changes showing increased physical activity levels, however this was not sustained. Whether behaviours can be sustained is the focus of ongoing research.
Abstract of paper presented at: 2011 Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport "Optimising health and fitness – Participation, prevention and performance", 19–22 October 2011.
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