Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Sydney Brown

Abstract

This study focused on the relationship between student success in a long-term weight loss immersion treatment program and parent participation in the program; parent participation is defined as engaging in similar healthy behaviors at home while their child is in the program including (1) parents also striving to achieve or maintain a healthy weight; (2) parents self-monitoring of weight loss behaviors/healthy habits; (3) parents reducing/eliminating high fat foods in the home and increasing nonfat/low fat foods in the home; (4) parents improving family support in the home; and (5) parents facilitating healthy family functioning in the home.

The problem addressed in this study was that parents struggle to understand and embrace their significant role in their children's weight loss process; issues included parent lack of awareness of the epidemic of obesity or the health dangers related to it, challenges in knowing what to do if their child is obese, and a tendency to demonstrate a lack of motivation to change their own behavior.

This study used a quantitative correlational design with a pretest/posttest and an intervention that was completed over a 10- to 16-week time period from August 20, 2012, to December 8, 2012; recruitment of subjects began in mid-July 2012. The pretest was conducted when parents and their children arrived at the program; the posttest was done at the conclusion of the study in November and December. In October at the midway point when the parents attended the mini-immersion parent workshop, each of the measures taken in the pretest and posttest were taken again to strengthen statistical power. The pretest and posttest consisted of both parent and child independently completing (1) the weigh in, (2) height measurement to calculate BMI, (3) the food checklist (see Appendix A), (4) the social support survey (see Appendices B and C), and (5) the family survey (GF) (see Appendix D). Parent self-monitoring was also measured at the mini-immersion parent workshop in October and at the end of the study in November and December.

The results indicated no correlation between parent participation and student success due to a very small sample size; only eight families participated because of low enrollment at the facilities used in the study. However, this study did confirm the value of exploring the impact of parent behavior on student success, especially in regard to how parents can modify their behavior (weight loss and self-monitoring) and how parents can modify the home environment (food available in the home, parental support at home, and facilitation of healthy family functioning) to empower their children to achieve a healthy weight.