Human-centered designed communication tools for obesity prevention in early life

Publication Year: 2023
Contributing Organisation: Indiana University School of Medicine
Authors: Erika R. Cheng, Courtney Moore, and Lisa Parks
Learning Themes: Global Health

Objective: How we communicate about obesity is critical as treatment paradigms shift upstream. We previously
identified parental perceptions, concerns, beliefs, and communication preferences about early life obesity risk.
We engaged parents of children 0 to 24 months of age and pediatricians from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA in the
co-design of messages and tools that can be used to facilitate parent/provider conversations about early life  obesity prevention.

Methods: From April to June 2021, we conducted a series of co-design workshops with parents of children ages 0 to 24 months and pediatricians to identify their preferences for communicating obesity prevention in the setting of a pediatric well visit. Human-centered design techniques, including affinity diagraming and model building, were used to inform key elements of a communication model and communication strategy messages.
These elements were combined and refined to create prototype tools that were subsequently refined using stakeholder feedback.
Results: Parent participants included 11 mothers and 2 fathers: 8 white, 4 black, and 1 Asian; median age 33 years with 38% reporting annual household incomes less than $50,000. Pediatricians included 7 female and 6 male providers; 69% white. Through an iterative process of co-design, we created an exam room poster that addresses common misconceptions about infant feeding, sleep and exercise, and a behavior change plan to foster parent/ provider collaboration focused on achieving children’s healthy weight.
Conclusions: Our hands-on, collaborative approach may ultimately improve uptake, acceptability and usability of
early life obesity interventions by ensuring that parents remain at the center of prevention efforts.

Related Resources

Adolescent Insights
Global Health
Measurement & Evaluation
Quality & Standards
Youth Integration

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