Smart Choices for Healthy Families: A Pilot Study for the Treatment of Childhood Obesity in Low-Income Families

Courtney A. Pinard, Michael H. Hart, Yvonne Hodgkins, Elena L. Serrano, Mary M. McFerren, Paul A. Estabrooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


This pre-post study used a mixed-methods approach to examine the impact of a family-based weight management program among a low-income population. Smart Choices for Healthy Families was developed through an integrated research-practice partnership and piloted with 26 children and parents (50% boys; mean age = 10.5 years; 54% Black) who were referred by their pediatrician. Smart Choices included six biweekly group sessions and six automated telephone-counseling calls over 3 months. Children displayed reduced body mass index z-scores (p < .05), increased lean muscle mass (p < .001), and increased quality of life (p < .0001). Follow-up interviews indicated that physicians valued the lay leaders' ability to provide lifestyle education, whereas lay leaders extended their reach to more community members. Parents wanted to become positive role models and found that the calls maintained focus on goals. Smart Choices shows promise to initiate weight management for children in low-income families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-445
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012



  • childhood obesity
  • family-based intervention
  • mixed methods
  • research-practice partnership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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