Pilot evaluation of HEAL – A natural experiment to promote obesity prevention behaviors among low-income pregnant women.
Sommaire de l'article
Instituting interventions during the prenatal period is optimal for early obesity prevention in the child. Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) is a six-week, multi-component program to promote breastfeeding, healthy dietary habits, cooking skills and physical activity among Medicaid-eligible pregnant-women in Texas. HEAL is integrated into the healthcare system and offered as a standard-of-care for eligible patients.
Preliminary evaluation of this natural experiment conducted from March 2015 through October 2016 informs the initial feasibility, acceptability and effects of the program on participant diet, home nutrition environment, physical activity, and breastfeeding self-efficacy and intentions measured using self-report surveys. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted to evaluate pre- and post-intervention changes, controlling for participants' ethnicity, age, and income level. Interaction effects of session attendance on the outcomes were further assessed.
Of the 329 women who enrolled in HEAL, 210 women completed the pre-post assessment (64% retention rate). Pre-to-post intervention, there were significant increases in availability and intake of fruits and vegetables, self-efficacy towards consuming more fruits and vegetables, and cooking frequency and skills (
HEAL operationalizes clinic-community linkages and shows promise in improving behaviors during pregnancy. Future research warrants the use of a stringent study design with a control group to determine program efficacy.