Internet-based intervention programme for obese adolescents and their families (Next.Step): research protocol of a controlled trial

Authors

  • Pedro Sousa MSc RN,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding author
    1. School of Health Sciences, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal
    2. Health Research Unit (UIS) of the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal
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  • Helena Fonseca MD PhD,

    Assistant Professor
    1. Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
    2. Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Obesity Clinic, Hospital de Santa Maria (HSM), Lisbon, Portugal
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  • Pedro Gaspar PhD RN,

    Assistant Professor
    1. School of Health Sciences, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal
    2. Health Research Unit (UIS) of the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal
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  • Filomena Gaspar PhD RN

    Assistant Professor
    1. School of Nursing of Lisbon, Portugal
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Abstract

Aim

This paper describes the design and rationale of a controlled trial that aims to determine the effectiveness of an intervention programme in which the internet is used.

Background

Adolescent obesity is a major health problem, there being urgency to find effective interventions that induce behavioural change. The inclusion of the internet in the intervention may improve adolescents' adherence to the weight management programme and lead to adoption of healthier lifestyles.

Design

A clinical trial with a control group (non-randomized).

Methods

Participants are adolescents with appointments at a paediatric obesity clinic (Portugal). Sample size was calculated according to the power analysis. The experimental group will follow the standard treatment protocol and receive free access to the e-therapeutic platform. The control group will follow the standard treatment protocol and join a waiting list. Intervention length will be 36 weeks (24 weeks of direct intervention with a follow-up for 12 weeks). This study was approved by the Ethical Committee for Health (Lisbon, Portugal) in January 2012 and funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (Portugal) in December 2012.

Discussion

The results of this research will promote reflection on new approaches directed to treat adolescent obesity and on the promotion of healthy behaviours. We expect to gather empirical evidence of the intervention programme effectiveness. The expectations lie on the population health gains, empowerment in decision-making and adoption of healthier lifestyles.

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