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Curtin University
Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health

Reducing Overweight and Obesity in Mothers with Young Children (2007-2008)

Investigators:

Chief Investigators:

Associate Investigators:

  • Professor Brian Oldenburg (Monash University)
  • Dr Owen Carter (Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control, Curtin University)
  • Dr Terry Slevin (Centre for Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University)
  • Trevor Shilton (Cardiovascular Health (WA) and The National Heart Foundation)
  • Dr Christina Pollard (School of Public Health, Curtin University)

Project Coordinator:

  • Ms Carlie Jones (WACHPR, Curtin University)

Collaborating Partners

  • Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control, Curtin University
  • Cancer Council of WA
  • The National Heart Foundation
  • Monash University
  • University of Leeds
  • Playgroup WA Inc.

Funding

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ($456,000)

Project Aims

  • To develop, implement and evaluate an intervention intended to influence the physical activity and nutrition behaviours of women with young families in Western Australia.
  • The specific aim is to develop and pilot test the recruitment strategy, intervention and evaluation procedure.

The specific objectives of the project are to: 

  • Identify influences on the physical activity and nutrition behaviours of mothers of young children.
  • Identify preferred intervention strategies.
  • Develop and trial a recruitment strategy.
  • Develop and pilot test a physical activity and nutrition intervention.
  • Identify appropriate outcome measures.
  • Pilot test instruments to assess outcomes.

The secondary objectives of the project are to:

  • Assess effectiveness in terms of difference in physical activity between intervention and control groups.
  • Assess effectiveness in terms of difference in markers of nutrition quality (e.g. fruit and vegetable and saturated fat intake) between intervention and control groups.
  • Assess environmental changes influenced by the project.
  • Assess physical activity self-efficacy, social support and food intake self-efficacy in relation to physical activity frequency and food intake pre and post program.

Background

Overweight and obesity are currently among the world’s most important public health issues and there is evidence that rates for women rise with first and subsequent pregnancies. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy and excessive postpartum weight retention are significant and identifiable predictors of long-term obesity. In addition, lifestyle factors relating to poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are major contributors to inter-pregnancy weight gain and weight gain at 12 months postpartum.

Little, however, is known about the attitudes and preferences for interventions in this population and a recent Cochrane review stated that methods to control overweight and obesity among women have not been adequately evaluated. Research to date indicates that strategies are more likely to be effective when they include both diet and exercise components.

Project Overview

The Mothers with Young Children intervention study was carriedout from 2008 to 2010 with the purpose to develop, implement and evaluate a community-based intervention focused on improving nutrition and physical activity behaviours of mothers with young children.

This Healthway funded research study comprised two stages. The first included formative research conducted via focus groups with members from playgroups registered with Playgroup WA Inc. The formative research involved identifying the target group’s barriers and facilitators for the uptake of healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviours as well as their preferences for nutrition and physical activity behaviour-modification strategies.

The second stage comprised the development, pilot testing, implementation and evaluation of a three-month intervention designed to raise awareness about the benefits of adopting healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviours and to secondly, modify these behaviours among the target group. The design of the intervention was based on results obtained from the Stage One, reviewed literature and expert opinion.

Projected Key Outcomes

This study will provide practical information that is currently lacking about the influences on the physical activity and nutrition behaviours of the proposed target group. It will provide guidelines for appropriate recruitment of the sample, and development, implementation and evaluation of a large-scale community intervention.

Associated Projects

Publications

  • Jones, C., Burns, S., Howat, P., Jancey, J., McManus, A. & Carter, O. (2010) Playgroups as a setting for nutrition and physical activity interventions for mothers with young children: exploratory qualitative findings. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 21,(2),92-8.

Conference Presentations

  • Jones, C., Monteiro, S., Howat, P., Jancey, J., Burns, S., McManus, A., Dhaliwal, S. et al. (2009)The effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention designed for mothers with young children. 2009 Annual Conference of the International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. Canberra, 29 September 2009.
  • Jones, C., Howat, P., Burns, S., McManus, A., Jancey, J. & Dhaliwal, S. (2009) An obesity control intervention for play group mothers (paper presentation). National Health Promotion Association Conference, Convention Centre, Perth, 17-20 May 2009.
  • Jones, C., Burns, S., McManus, A., Jancey, J., Howat, P., Dhaliwal, S. et al. (2009) Playgroups: A setting for nutrition and physical activity interventions. Curtin University Public Health Seminar, Perth, 14 May 2009 (Invited speaker).
  • Jones, C., Howat, P., Dhaliwal, S., McManus, A., Jancey, J. & Burns, S. (2009) The effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention designed for mothers with young children (paper presentation). International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity Conference, Lisbon, 12-15 June 2009.
  • Jones, C., Jancey, J., Burns, S., McManus, A., Howat, P. Dhaliwal, S. et al. (2009) Tailored nutrition and physical activity programs for mothers with young children (paper presentation). Healthy Weight Congress, Perth 19 March 2009 (Invited speaker).
  • Jones, J., Howat, P., Jancey, J. & Dhaliwal, S. (2009) A tailored lifestyle intervention for mothers with young children (paper presentation). Public Health Association of Australia, Canberra, 28-30 September.
  • Jones, C., McManus, A., Jancey, J., Howat, P., Burns, S. & Dhaliwal, S. (2008) Development of a physical activity & nutrition program for mothers with young children. Curtin University Public Health Seminar, Perth, 14 May 2008.
  • Jones, C., Jancey, J., Howat, P., Burns, S., Dhaliwal, S. & McManus, A. (2008) Development of a community-based intervention to control overweight and obesity in mothers. Population Health Congress, Brisbane, 8 July 2008.
  • Jones, C., Burns, S., Howat, P., McManus, A., Jancey, J. & Dhaliwal, S. (2008) Tailored physical activity programs for mothers with young children (paper presentation). Weighing up our Future: WA’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Healthy Weight Congress April 18-20th National Heart Foundation, Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, WA, March 2008.
  • Jones, C., Howat, P., McManus, A., Jancey, J., Burns, S. & Dhaliwal, S. (2007) Formative research in designing a postpartum physical activity and nutrition intervention. Obesity Control Seminar, The University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, September 2007 (Invited).
  • Jones, C., Howat, P., Burns, S., McManus, A., Jancey, J. & Dhaliwal, S. (2007) What do mothers want? Overweight and obesity control. The Public Health Association of Australia WA State Conference, Perth, Western Australia, 30-31 October 2007.