Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Michelle M. Cloutier, Rhiannon Smith

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


BACKGROUND: Children of color are disproportionately affected by obesity creating a need for effective prevention/reversal programs. This study investigated a first dose response to a pediatric primary care-based obesity prevention program (Steps to Growing Up Healthy) targeting Hispanic and Black children. We examined whether mothers experienced barriers to behavior change and if maternal, child, environmental, or intervention variables predicted barrier status.

METHODS: Hispanic and Black mothers and their children (N=234; 51%F; 88.9% Hispanic; 35.4±8.7months) were recruited from an urban pediatric primary care clinic. The intervention utilized brief motivational counseling delivered by clinicians and nurses with the goal of decreasing obesogenic behaviors. During a routine clinic visit, the medical team facilitated the selection of a specific goal (e.g., reduce SSB) that was meaningful to the mothers and taught mothers simple behavioral strategies (e.g., self-monitoring). Study staff conducted follow-up telephone calls 5-7 days after the visit, reviewed the selected goal, and assessed whether the mother experienced a barrier to behavior change.

RESULTS: 16.8% of mothers reported a barrier to behavior change in the week following the first intervention dose. Logistic regression models identified mother’s confidence (pand child sex (p<.01) as predictors of barrier status. Mothers who were “somewhat” or “not confident” were 6.21 times more likely to report a barrier than mothers who were very confident and mothers were 0.351 times more likely to identify a barrier if their child was male.

CONCLUSION: Obesity prevention/reversal programs may be well served to address maternal confidence levels especially with regard to changing their son’s obesogenic behaviors.

Major Advisor

Amy Gorin