Recruitment and retention in obesity prevention and treatment trials targeting minority or low-income children: a review of the clinical trials registration database [review]
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BACKGROUND: Efforts to recruit and retain participants in clinical trials are challenging, especially in studies that include minority or low-income children. To date, no studies have systematically examined recruitment and retention strategies and their effectiveness in working successfully with this population. We examined strategies employed to recruit or retain minority or low-income children in trials that included an obesity-related behavior modification component. METHODS: First, completed home-, community-, and school-based trials involving minority or low-income children aged 2-17 years were identified in a search of the ClinicalTrials.gov registry. Second, a PubMed search of identified trials was conducted to locate publications pertinent to identified trials. Recruitment and retention rates were calculated for studies that included relevant information. RESULTS: Our final analytic sample included 43 studies. Of these, 25 studies reported recruitment or retention strategies, with the amount of information varying from a single comment to several pages; 4 published no specific information on recruitment or retention; and 14 had no publications listed in PubMed. The vast majority (92 %) of the 25 studies reported retention rates of, on average, 86 %. Retention rates were lower in studies that: targeted solely Hispanics or African Americans (vs. mixed races of African Americans, whites, and others); involved children and parents (vs. children only); focused on overweight or obese children (vs. general children), lasted >/=1 year (vs. <1 year), were home or community-based (vs. school-based), included nutrition and physical activity intervention (vs. either intervention alone), had body mass index or other anthropometrics as primary outcome measures (vs. obesity-related behavior, insulin sensitivity, etc.). Retention rates did not vary based on child age, number of intervention sessions, or sample size. CONCLUSIONS: Variable amounts of information were provided on recruitment and retention strategies in obesity-related trials involving minority or low-income children. Although reported retention rates were fairly high, a lack of reporting limited the available information. More and consistent reporting and systematic cataloging of recruitment and retention methods are needed. In addition, qualitative and quantitative studies to inform evidence-based decisions in the selection of effective recruitment and retention strategies for trials including minority or low-income children are warranted.
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