BACKGROUND: Social media may be an effective medium by which parents could be trained to promote healthy eating behaviour and physical activity for their children. This trial evaluates the effectiveness of a family-based intervention using social media in combination with face-to-face sessions - the REDUCE (REorganise Diet, Unnecessary sCreen time and Exercise) programme - on adiposity of Malay children.
METHODS: Five primary schools in an urban area in Selangor, Malaysia participated in this two-arm randomized controlled field trial. Participants were parents (n = 134) and their primary school-going children 8-11 years of age who were either overweight or obese. These parent-child dyads were randomly allocated to intervention and wait-list control groups and were blinded to group assignment. The intervention was a four-week training programme using two face-to-face sessions and two Facebook sessions followed by weekly booster sessions over a three-month period using WhatsApp. The primary outcome was body mass index (BMI) z-score. Height, body weight, waist circumference and percentage of body fat were measured by blinded assessors. Data were collected at baseline (T1), immediately post-training (T2) and at three- (T3) and six-month post training (T4) and were analysed using generalized linear mixed modelling adjusted for covariates to estimate the intervention effects. Subgroup analysis was conducted for overweight and obese children.
RESULTS: Ninety-one percent of parents completed the study, 64 in intervention group and 58 in wait-list group. At the sixth month post-training, BMI z-scores were significantly reduced in the intervention group compared to the wait-list group, for the all children (overweight and obese children) and within the obese subgroup ((F(6, 517) = 2.817, p = 0.010) and (F(6, 297) = 6.072, p
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.