Feasibility of standardized methods to specify behavioral pediatric obesity prevention interventions
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Standardized methods are needed to evaluate what occurs within the 'black box' of behavioral interventions to prevent pediatric obesity. The purpose of this research is to evaluate methods to specify the behavior change techniques used and the amount of time spent discussing target weight-related behaviors in an intervention for parents of children at risk for becoming overweight or obese. Independent coders were trained to identify behavior change techniques and time spent discussing weight-related behaviors in audio recordings and transcripts of intervention sessions from 100 randomly selected participants. The behavior change technique taxonomy (BCTTv1) was used to code techniques present in sessions. A newly-developed tool was used to code time spent discussing each target weight-related behavior (e.g., physical activity, screen time). Sessions from a subset of these participants (N = 20) were double coded to evaluate inter-rater reliability. After revisions to coding protocols, coders reliably coded behavior change techniques used and time spent discussing target weight-related behaviors in sessions from the subset of 20 participants. The most commonly discussed target weight-related behavior was physical activity followed by energy intake and fruit and vegetable intake. On average, 13.9 (SD = 2.8) unique behavior change techniques were present across sessions for a given participant. These results offer reliable methods for systematically identifying behavior change techniques used and time spent discussing weight-related behaviors in a pediatric obesity prevention intervention. This work paves the way for future research to identify which specific target behaviors and techniques are most associated with the prevention of unhealthy weight gain in children.
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