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Int J Obes (Lond). 2011 Mar;35(3):436-47. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2010.151. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

The 'Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids' randomized controlled trial: efficacy of a healthy lifestyle program for overweight fathers and their children.

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School of Education, Faculty of Education & Arts, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia.



To evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of the 'Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids' (HDHK) program, which was designed to help overweight fathers lose weight and be a role model of positive health behaviors for their children.


Randomized controlled trial.


A total of 53 overweight/obese men (mean (s.d.) age=40.6 (7.1) years; body mass index (BMI)=33.2 (3.9)) and their primary school-aged children (n=71, 54% boys; mean (s.d.) age=8.2 (2.0) years) were randomly assigned (family unit) to either (i) the HDHK program (n=27 fathers, n=39 children) or (ii) a wait-list control group (n=26 fathers, n=32 children).


Fathers in the 3-month program attended eight face-to-face education sessions. Children attended three of these sessions.


The primary outcome was fathers' weight. Fathers and their children were assessed at baseline, and at 3- and 6-month follow-up, for weight, waist circumference, BMI, blood pressure, resting heart rate (RHR), objectively measured physical activity and self-reported dietary intake.


Intention-to-treat analysis revealed significant between-group differences at 6 months for weight loss (P<0.001), with HDHK fathers losing more weight (-7.6  kg; 95% confidence interval (CI) -9.2, -6.0; d=0.54) than control group fathers (0.0  kg; 95% CI -1.4, 1.6). Significant treatment effects (P<0.05) were also found for waist circumference (d=0.62), BMI (d=0.53), systolic blood pressure (d=0.92), RHR (d=0.66) and physical activity (d=0.91), but not for dietary intake. In children, significant treatment effects (P<0.05) were found for physical activity (d=0.74), RHR (d=0.51) and dietary intake (d=0.84).


The HDHK program resulted in significant weight loss and improved health-related outcomes in fathers and improved eating and physical activity among children. Targeting fathers is a novel and efficacious approach to improving health behavior in their children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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