Teaching Parents About Responsive Feeding Through a Vicarious Learning Video: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

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The American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization recommend responsive feeding (RF) to promote healthy eating behaviors in early childhood. This project developed and tested a vicarious learning video to teach parents RF practices. A RF vicarious learning video was developed using community-based participatory research methods. Fifty parents of preschoolers were randomly assigned to watch Happier Meals or a control video about education. Knowledge and beliefs about RF practices were measured 1 week before and immediately after intervention. Experimental group participants also completed measures of narrative engagement and video acceptability. Seventy-four percent of the sample was White, 90% had at least a college degree, 96% were married, and 88% made >$50,000/year. RF knowledge increased (p = .03) and positive beliefs about some unresponsive feeding practices decreased (ps < .05) more among experimental than control parents. Knowledge and belief changes were associated with video engagement (ps < .05). Parents perceived Happier Meals as highly relevant, applicable, and informative. Community-based participatory research methods were instrumental in developing this vicarious learning video, with preliminary evidence of effectiveness in teaching parents about RF. Happier Meals is freely available for parents or community health workers to use when working with families to promote healthy eating behaviors in early childhood.

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