Participatory development and pilot testing of iChoose: an adaptation of an evidence-based paediatric weight management program for community implementation
Background To describe the identification, adaptation, and testing of an evidence-based pediatric weight management program for a health disparate community.
Methods A community advisory board (CAB) of decision-makers and staff from local health care, public health, and recreation organizations engaged with academic partners to select an evidence-based program (EBP) for local implementation. Three EBPs were identified (Traffic Light, Bright Bodies, Golan and colleagues Home Environmental Model) and each EBP was rated on program characteristics, implementation and adaptation, and adoptability. Following selection of the EBP that was rated highest, the POPS-CAB made adaptations based on the program principles described in peer-reviewed publications. The adapted intervention, iChoose, was then pilot tested in 3 iterative phases delivered initially by research partners, then co-delivered by research and community partners, then delivered by community partners. The RE-AIM framework was used to plan and evaluate the iChoose intervention across all waves with assessments at baseline, post program (3 months), and follow-up (6 months).
Results Bright Bodies rated highest on program characteristics and adoptability (p’s < 0.05), while Home Environmental Model rated highest on implementation factors (p < 0.05). Qualitatively, the selection focused on important program characteristics and on matching those characteristics to the potential to fit within the community partner services. The adapted program—iChoose—had 18% reach and with participants that were representative of the target population on age, gender, ethnicity, and race. Effectiveness was demonstrated by modest, but significant reductions in BMI z-scores at post-program compared to baseline (MΔ = − 0.047; t = − 2.11, p = 0.046). This decrease returned to values similar to baseline 3 months (MΔ = 0.009) after the program was completed. Implementation fidelity was high and implementation fidelity did not differ between community or research delivery agents.
Conclusions The process to help organizations identify and select evidence-based programs appropriate for their community led to consensus on a single EBP. While iChoose was successful in initiating changes in BMI z-scores, could be implemented in a low resource community with fidelity, it was insufficient to lead to sustained child BMI z-scores. In response to these data, maintenance of program effects and delivery are the current focus of the CBPR team.