Background: Excessive weight gain adversely impacts on the health, social and economic wellbeing of children and families. The aim of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility of a practice change intervention to improve the physical activity and healthy eating support offered by staff of human service organisations during home visits. Methods: The study employed a pre-post design. Sixty nine support staff and 29 managers from human service organisations from the Hunter New England Area Health Service (HNEAHS) region of NSW participated in the trial. Research officers provided staff with healthy eating and physical activity training, telephone support and resources, and encouraged managers to adopt a healthy eating and physical activity policy, and to support their staff in providing healthy eating and physical activity guidance to families. Results: Compared to pre-intervention, support staff of human service organisations were more likely to provide healthy eating and physical activity support to client families. The intervention was found to be acceptable to staff and managers. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that a variety of supportive, practice change initiatives may be a feasible approach to increasing obesity prevention support provided to disadvantaged families by human service organisation staff.
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal Issue 25, p. 29-41