Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications » Publications at this Location

Research Project: Preventing the Development of Childhood Obesity

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Feasibility and efficacy of the "FUNPALs Playgroup" intervention to improve toddler dietary and activity behaviors: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Author
item CEPNI, ALIYE - University Of Houston
item TAYLOR, ASHLEY - University Of Houston
item CRUMBLEY, CHRISTINE - University Of Houston
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item MORAN, NANCY - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item OLVERA, NORMA - University Of Houston
item O'CONNOR, DANIEL - University Of Houston
item ARLINGHAUS, KATHERINE - University Of Minnesota
item JOHNSTON, CRAIG - University Of Houston
item LEDOUX, TRACEY - University Of Houston

Submitted to: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2021
Publication Date: 7/23/2021
Citation: Cepni, A.B., Taylor, A., Crumbley, C., Thompson, D.J., Moran, N.E., Olvera, N., O'Connor, D.P., Arlinghaus, K.R., Johnston, C.A., Ledoux, T.A. 2021. Feasibility and efficacy of the "FUNPALs Playgroup" intervention to improve toddler dietary and activity behaviors: A pilot randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 18(15):7828. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157828.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157828

Interpretive Summary: This study evaluated the feasibility and effects of the Families This study evaluated the feasibility and effects of the Families Understanding Nutrition and Physically Active Lifestyles (FUNPALs) Playgroup on toddler (12–36-month-old) diet and activity behaviors. Parents and toddlers were recruited from disadvantaged communities and randomly assigned to either the FUNPALs Playgroup or a control group. FUNPALs Playgroups involved physical and snack activities, delivery of health information, and positive parenting coaching. The control group involved group health education for parents only. The sample comprised parents (84% female) who self-identified as Hispanic/Latino (38%) and/or African American (32%). Retention was high (78%). Parents from both groups enjoyed the program and perceived improvements in their children's health behaviors. Objective measures demonstrated improvement in toddler diet, but not physical activity. In conclusion, the FUNPALs Playgroup is feasible and may improve toddler eating behaviors.

Technical Abstract: This study evaluated the feasibility and effects of the Families Understanding Nutrition and Physically Active Lifestyles (FUNPALs) Playgroup on toddler (12–36-month-old) diet and activity behaviors. Parent–toddler dyads were recruited from disadvantaged communities and randomly assigned to receive 10-weekly sessions of the FUNPALs Playgroup (n=24) or dose-matched health education control group (n=26). FUNPALs Playgroups involved physical and snack activities, delivery of health information, and positive parenting coaching. The control group involved group health education for parents only. Process outcomes (e.g., retention rate, fidelity) and focus groups determined feasibility and perceived effects. To evaluate preliminary effects, validated measures of toddler diet (food frequency questionnaire and a carotenoid biomarker), physical activity (PA; accelerometers), general and feeding parenting (self-report surveys), and home environment (phone interview) were collected pre and post. The sample comprised parents (84% female) who self-identified as Hispanic/Latino (38%) and/or African American (32%). Retention was high (78%). Parents from both groups enjoyed the program and perceived improvements in their children's health behaviors. Objective measures demonstrated improvement with large effects (n**2=0.29) in toddler diet (p<0.001) but not PA (p=0.099). In conclusion, the FUNPALs Playgroup is feasible and may improve toddler eating behaviors.