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Objective

To evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of a scalable obesity treatment program integrated with pediatric primary care (PC) and delivered using interactive voice technology (IVR) to families from underserved populations.

Design and Methods

Fifty parent-child dyads (child 9-12 yrs, BMI > 95th percentile) were recruited from a pediatric PC clinic and randomized to either an IVR or a wait-list control (WLC) group. The majority were lower-income, African-American (72%) families. Dyads received IVR calls for 12 weeks. Call content was informed by two evidence-based interventions. Anthropometric and behavioral variables were assessed at baseline and 3-month follow-up.

Results

Forty-three dyads completed the study. IVR parents ate one cup more fruit than WLC (P < 0.05). No other group differences were found. Children classified as high users of the IVR decreased weight, BMI, and BMI z-score compared to low users ( P < 0.05). Mean number of calls for parents and children were 9.1 (5.2 SD) and 9.0 (5.7 SD), respectively. Of those who made calls, >75% agreed that the calls were useful, made for people like them, credible, and helped them eat healthy foods.

Conclusion

An obesity treatment program delivered via IVR may be an acceptable and feasible resource for families from underserved populations.