Emily D. Parker, Ph.D.
HealthPartners Research Foundation
Despite the recognition that pediatric cancer survivors are at high risk for the development of obesity due to late effects of treatment and disease and the known long term risk of cardiometabolic diseases associated with excess weight, there is a dearth of interventions designed to meet the needs of this unique group. The overarching objective of this pilot study is to test the feasibility of a novel, technology-delivered obesity prevention intervention in adolescent cancer survivors. This study will recruit and randomize 40 adolescent cancer survivors to receive the obesity-prevention intervention or brief educational materials. Intervention participants will be invited to attend a workshop that focuses on obesity prevention actions, such as increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, increasing physical activity, and decreasing sedentary activity. Intervention participants will then receive 12 weeks of frequent (2 to 4 times weekly) cell phone text messages with concise, motivational messages that build on the baseline educational workshop. The comparison group will receive brief print materials. Body mass index, diet (Youth/Adolescent Questionnaire), and physical activity (Youth/Adolescent Activity Questionnaire) will be measured at baseline and 3-month follow-up. Because this is a pilot study, we will not have the power to detect differences in these measures. However, we expect to see biological (BMI) and behavioral (nutrition and physical activity) changes in the direction of hypothesized effects. The information yielded from the follow-up survey will provide valuable information with regard to the feasibility of delivering such an intervention, as well as provide formative data that will enhance the development of engaging intervention messages in the larger study. This study addresses an important research area relevant to public health, as it relates to adolescent obesity and cancer survivor research. Innovative methods of intervention are needed to address the increased risk of obesity in young cancer survivors. If successful, it will lead to a larger collaborative study to determine if the intervention can reduce excess weight gain among adolescent cancer survivors.
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