The three researchers had never met before their work creating an intervention for one of Charlottesville’s Latino communities. Diane Whaley, Mark DeBoer and Amy Boitnott, all from different parts of the University, got the idea when one of Whaley’s students who had also worked in the Children’s Fitness Center suggested a collaboration. They joined forces in 2010 through an annual Youth-Nex grant which seeds multidisciplinary U.Va. research efforts to enhance effective youth development.
The following post from Dr. Whaley describes, SALUD, a family-based intervention, designed to teach Latino families skills to facilitate healthy eating and physical activity involvement.
Whaley is from the U.Va. Curry School of Education, Boitnott teaches at the School of Nursing, and DeBoer is a pediatrician at the School of Medicine.
As pictured below, our design was built on the premise that children and parents influence each other to impact family health. We provided a physical activity program and a healthy eating curriculum for the children, a parent counseling program for the adults, and a healthy meal for all involved. We recruited 13 families from the same geographic neighborhood, and met with them once a month on a Sunday evening for 6 months. The sessions were full of energy and enthusiasm, but getting the families there proved to be quite a challenge. Even with a community agent helping to encourage families, different families showed up on different days. The good news is, even with the difficulties in recruitment and retention, our results indicated positive change in parent’s views of their children’s behaviors, in parent role-modeling of healthy behaviors, and in parent and child BMI. This program showed the value of a family-based approach focusing on changing behavior through education, modeling, and activity, but also highlighted the difficulties of working in a real-world setting.
Listen to the talk on the intervention, from the March 15, YN Works in Progress Meeting.
Diane Whaley is an associate professor; and the director of the Lifetime Physical Activity Program at the Curry School of Education.