UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Parents and children active together: a randomized trial protocol examining motivational, regulatory, and habitual intervention approaches Grant, Stina J; Beauchamp, Mark R. (Mark Robert), 1972-; Blanchard, Chris M.; Carson, Valerie; Gardner, Benjamin; Warburton, Darren E. R.; Rhodes, Ryan E.


Background: Regular physical activity (PA) is associated with many health benefits during childhood, and tracks into desirable PA patterns and health profiles in adulthood. Interventions designed to support these behaviours among young children are critical. Family-based interventions focusing on parent-child activities together (i.e., co-activity) among preschool-aged children are warranted. Targeting parental support practices can increase the frequency of co-activity, however interventions must move beyond merely building intention and planning skills for successful maintenance. Interventions designed to increase co-activity habit strength may facilitate the sustainability and thus impact child PA. The purpose of this study is to compare the effects of three intervention conditions designed to increase child PA through co-activity: a standard education condition (information about benefits), a planning (action planning, coping planning) + education condition and a habit (context-dependent repetition from prompts and cues) + planning +education condition. Methods/design: A longitudinal three-arm parallel design randomized trial will compare three conditions over six months. Families are eligible if they have at least one child between 3y and 5y that is not meeting 60mins/day of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). The primary outcome (child MVPA) is assessed via accelerometry at baseline, six weeks, three months and six months (primary endpoint). Intervention materials targeting co-activity are delivered post baseline assessment, with booster sessions at six weeks and three months. Parental co-activity habit, parent-child co-activity and other behavioural constructs are also assessed via questionnaire at all measurement occasions. As tertiary outcomes, parental PA is measured via accelerometry and co-activity is measured via a Bluetooth-enabled proximity feature. A total of 106 families have been recruited thus far from the Greater Victoria region. The study is ongoing with a minimum target of 150 families and an anticipated recruitment completion date of August 2022. Discussion: This protocol describes the implementation of a randomized trial evaluating the effectiveness of a habit formation group compared with a planning group and an education only group to increase child PA through targeting parent-child co-activity. This information could prove useful in informing public health initiatives to promote PA among families with preschool-aged children. Trial registration: This trial was prospectively registered on clinicaltrials.gov in February 2016, identifier NCT03055871 .

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