Healthy Habits, Healthy Homes: An Intervention to Remove Screen Media from Children’s Bedrooms
This 3-year project (currently in year 2) uses findings from our formative research (focus groups and home-based interviews) to develop, implement, and evaluate an intervention to remove screen media from bedrooms of children aged 2-5 years as one strategy to prevent and control childhood obesity. Through our formative research, we learned that parents struggle with different aspects of parenting young children, and in many cases are not interested in removing televisions from their child’s bedroom. In order to design a successful intervention that accomplishes our goals and meets the needs of the target population, we have designed a 6-month home-based intervention to improve family routines around meals, sleep, and screen time in the homes of low-income and racial/ethnic minority families in Boston and Cambridge.
During Year 1 we: 1) developed focus group and individual interview guides based on findings in the literature and discussions with experts in the field of obesity prevention; 2) conducted focus groups with 74 parents of children aged 0-5 years; 3) conducted home-based interviews with a sub-group of 18 parents who participated in our focus groups; and 4) summarized the findings from the formative assessment.
To achieve these aims in year 1, we recruited English, Spanish and Haitian-Creole-speaking parents of children birth to 5 years of age from community health centers throughout Boston and Cambridge. We conducted focus groups to learn parents’ perspectives on the benefits of TV viewing, any barriers they face to limiting their child’s TV viewing, and suggested strategies to help parents limit their child’s TV viewing. From these focus groups, we realized that we needed more in-depth information about the home environments these families were living in, and as a result, we conducted 18 in-depth interviews in the homes of parents where we explored in greater depth their ideas and thoughts on several intervention strategies to reduce television viewing among young children. This formative research was the basis of our intervention development, and led to a focus on family routines in the home.
Now in Year 2 of the study, we have already: 1) Identified 6 local community health centers to partner with for recruiting families; 2) Developed recruitment mailings; and 3) Developed educational materials, text message content, and other curriculum materials to be used with the intervention and control groups.
For the duration of Year 2, we will: 1) Recruit and enroll participants from our partnering community health centers in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville; 2) Implement a randomized-controlled trial of our 6-month home-based intervention with 120 families; and 3) Collect process and outcome measurement data using surveys, in-home data collection, TV Allowance measurement devices, and anthropometric measurements.
In Year 3, we will: 1) Evaluate the program and its impact on parenting, child behavior and development, family routines, health behaviors around eating, screen time, physical activity, and sleep; and 2) Develop a “Toolkit” for replicating our intervention program, including materials, curricula, and staff/resource requirements.
Principal Investigator: Elsie Taveras, MD
Funder: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
For more information, contact Elsie Taveras.
American Academy of Pediatrics: Committee on Public Education. American Academy of Pediatrics: Children, adolescents and television. Pediatrics. 2001 Feb; 107(2): 423-426.
Taveras EM, Hohman KH, Price S, Gortmaker SL, Sonneville K. Televisions in the bedrooms of racial/ethnic minority children: how did they get there and how do we get them out? Clin Pediatr. 2009 Sep; 48(7):715-9.
Hersey JC & Jordan A. Reducing children’s TV time to reduce the risk of childhood overweight: The children’s media use study. Highlights Report prepared for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Nutrition and Physical Activity Team. 2007 Mar.
Center on Media and Child Health, Children’s Hospital Boston (2005) The effects of electronic media on children ages 0-6: A review of research and funding. Issue Brief prepared for the Kaiser Family Foundation. 2005 Jan.