OBJECTIVES: The childhood obesity epidemic is now recognized as one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Community-based behaviour modification treatment programs involving both children and their families are warranted. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of parents whose children participated in the Children's Health and Activity Modification Program (C.H.A.M.P.): a 4-week lifestyle program delivered as a day-camp for obese children at risk for type II diabetes and their families. Parents were required to attend four half-day education sessions during the intervention period. METHODS: Seven focus groups were conducted immediately following the 4-week interventions offered in August 2008 and 2009. The perspectives of 38 parents representing 32 children aged 8-14 with obesity (i.e., body mass index > the 95th percentile) were shared. RESULTS: Overall, parents were pleased with the impact of the program and proud of their children's accomplishments (e.g., increased physical activity levels, enhanced self-esteem, weight loss). Several facilitators to success (e.g., social support; a positive environment) and barriers to its maintenance (e.g., time management; unsupportive family members) were identified, and recommendations were made for future programs. Although parents found the half-day sessions valuable, post-programmatic bi-monthly booster session adherence declined over the one-year follow-up period. CONCLUSION: Delivered as a 4-week day-camp, C.H.A.M.P. represents a unique approach to the treatment of childhood obesity. Future family-based interventions should consider avenues for intensifying the parental program component whilst employing strategies to promote parental adherence in service of enhancing long-term sustainability of health behaviour changes.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dr_shauna_burke/137/