Fit 4 You: an intervention program for occupational therapists working with children with obesity
Goldman, Samantha Nicole Burd
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Childhood obesity affects roughly 1 in 5 children in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). Childhood obesity is related to health concerns including physical illness, mental illness, and occupational imbalance (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016; Cantal, 2019; Pizzi, 2016). An in-depth literature review revealed that there are very few childhood obesity programs that support children at the familial or individual level. Rather, current programs are standardized, manualized, and do not allow for customization (Chomitz et al., 2010; Salmon et al., 2008). Program benefits vary based on the participants’ personal and familial factors and supports (Chomitz et al., 2010; Salmon et al., 2008). Therefore, many children do not receive the optimal benefits that these programs suggest. The author developed a 12-week, evidence-based, intervention program designed to guide occupational therapists in treating children with obesity. Behavior change theories guided both the understanding of the problem and the development of the program. Fit 4 You utilizes a flexible intervention approach that allows for customization of the program for each participant, therefore accounting for their personal and familial factors. The Fit 4 You intervention is guided by four evidence-based concepts: (1) planning, (2) self-efficacy, (3) practice and (4) fun. The short and long-term outcomes of this program provide necessary services to an in-need population and contribute to evidence-based practice for occupational therapists. Findings from the program evaluation research will used to improve the program design and will be disseminated to families and occupational therapists to promote program expansion.