NOURISH-T: Targeting caregivers to improve health behaviors in pediatric cancer survivors with obesity

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Abstract

Background

Obesity rates in pediatric cancer survivors (PCS) are alarmingly high. Although healthy lifestyle changes may prevent future health complications, promoting healthy behaviors in PCS is challenging, and few interventions have successfully addressed this issue.

Procedure

This randomized control trial evaluated the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a parent-focused six-session intervention, NOURISH-T (Nourishing Our Understanding of Role Modeling to Improve Support and Health for Healthy Transitions), compared with enhanced usual care (EUC) on the outcomes of caregiver and PCS anthropometric measurements, eating behaviors, and physical activity. Behavioral and self-report assessments of caregivers and PCS in both conditions were conducted at baseline, postintervention, and at a 4-month follow-up.

Results

In comparison to no change among EUC caregivers, NOURISH-T caregivers showed small yet significant decreases from baseline through follow-up on BMI, waist-hip ratio, and total daily caloric intake. However, there was no change with regard to daily fat and sugar intake. NOURISH-T caregivers also showed positive changes in their child feeding behaviors, including decreases in pressuring their child to eat and restricting their child's eating and increased eating together as a family. Similarly, decreases in BMI percentile, waist-hip ratio, and sugary beverage consumption were found for NOURISH-T PCS from baseline to postintervention. NOURISH-T PCS also significantly increased their daily steps, whereas EUC PCS decreased their daily steps.

Conclusions

Results suggest that an intervention targeting parents is feasible and demonstrates preliminary effectiveness. NOURISH-T showed a longer term effect on caregivers, and, although shorter term effect, a positive impact on the PCS themselves. Implications for ways to improve NOURISH-T as an intervention for increasing healthy behaviors of PCS are discussed.

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