UBC Faculty Research and Publications

A RE-AIM evaluation of Healthy Together: a family-centred program to support children’s healthy weights Bottorff, J. L. (Joan L.), 1950-; Huisken, Anne; Hopkins, Michelle; Nesmith, Catherine


Background: Healthy Together (HT) is family-centered program to support healthy eating and physical activity designed for implementation in community organizations serving families who may be experiencing vulnerabilities (e.g., related to low income, isolation, ethnicity, immigrant/refugee status, and/or Indigenous background). The purpose of this study was to conduct an evaluation of HT in a real-world, scale-up phase using the RE-AIM framework. Methods: Using a cross-sectional, non-comparative design, a community-based program evaluation was conducted in 29 organizations implementing HT as part of their core service programs. Data were collected using questionnaires with program participants and facilitators, and interviews with directors of participating organizations. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and qualitative data were content analyzed. Results: With regards to Reach, over 3400 caregivers, children and youth attended community programming that offered HT. Among those attending on the scheduled day for the evaluation, 663 completed the questionnaires. The majority of caregiver respondents (n = 431) were female (92%) and attended with children 0–6 years. Respondents also included children 4–6 years (n = 142) and 7–12 years (n = 65), and youth 13–18 years (n = 25). Effectiveness was demonstrated in reported improvements in physical activity, healthy eating, and strengthened social connections. HT was also widely supported by participants and facilitators. Adoption was influenced by the desire to enrich core service programs for families, HT’s fit within existing programs, organizational commitment, and funding support. Implementation experiences indicated that fidelity to the HT program was generally maintained, with some setting specific adaptations. Maintenance of HT was influenced by financial and non-financial resources within community organizations. Most organizations also introduced new initiatives to extend support for healthy eating and physical activity. Conclusion: Our findings indicate improvements in healthy eating and physical activity, and social connections among program participants, as well as efforts by community organizations to create environments to support healthy weights. HT was successfully delivered in “real-world” community settings across multiple contexts and with families with diverse backgrounds. This along with strategies to support program implementation and sustainability indicate that HT provides a model for other public health interventions to promote family health and wellbeing. Trial registration: ClincialTrials.gov NCT03550248. Registered May 25, 2018

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