Effectiveness of Texas Children's Hospital's Saturday Wellness Program for Children with special health care needs
Children with Special Health Care Needs comprise approximately 13% of children within the state of Texas. In addition to their primary diagnosis, it is estimated that approximately 18% of these children with special health care needs are overweight. Many times parents of children with special health care needs are extremely busy dealing with the daily responsibilities required to care for a child with a chronic illness, and thus, lose connections with their local communities and available resources for health needs such as obesity. Texas Children’s Hospital’s Wellness Program for Children with Special Health Care Needs is a family-centered wellness program to prevent obesity in this population; however, no formal evaluation of the program has been conducted. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the Texas Children’s Saturday Wellness Program on weight status, nutrition knowledge, and the frequency of physical activity of children who participated in the program. A secondary data analysis was conducted with 50 children with special health care needs and their families who participated in the program during 2007 and 2008. A pre post-test study design was used with data collected immediately before and after participation in the 4 week program. Data measures included demographics (age, race, etc.), anthropometrics (height and weight), a quality of life survey focusing on nutrition and physical activity behaviors, and a knowledge survey on physical activity and nutrition. Of 50 participants, 33 (66%) completed the program. Children participating in the program showed a significant decrease in BMI (mean=29.83 to mean=29.22, BMI z score p<0.01), as well as frequency of physical activity (p<0.05) and knowledge (p<0.01). Texas Children’s Hospital’s wellness program for children with special health care needs provided a promising structure for a wellness program within a multi-ethnic special needs population; however, long term effect research is needed with a larger sample size and more comprehensive outcomes and process measures. Nonetheless, this program indicates the effectiveness and feasibility of a family-based approach to weight loss in children with special needs.
Silver, Stacey M, "Effectiveness of Texas Children's Hospital's Saturday Wellness Program for Children with special health care needs" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1462395.