Oral Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting

Go4Fun: An effective scaled-up community based obesity treatment program for children (#9)

Christine Innes-Hughes 1 , Santosh Khanal 1 , Sarah Lukeis 2 , Chris Rissel 1
  1. The NSW Office of Preventive Health. South West Sydney Local Health District, Liverpool, NSW, Australia
  2. The Better Health Company, Melbourne, NSW, Australia

The prevalence of childhood obesity remains high in Australia. Clinical services have limited capacity to support families with children above a healthy weight range and services may not be accessible to many families.

The Go4Fun program, based on the twice per week MEND program, is a free healthy lifestyle program for children aged 7-13 years and their families, delivered at scale across NSW. The program is delivered by trained staff in local health districts. A cluster randomised controlled trial was conducted to compare the participation in and effectiveness of a once per week program.

Routinely collected program monitoring data was analysed descriptively. The data includes sociodemographic characteristics of families and pre and post program children measurements of BMI, self-esteem, fitness and dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviours.

To date, over 6000 families across NSW have participated in Go4Fun. Around 37% come from rural or regional communities and 77% from areas of relative social disadvantage, while 54% of mothers hold a health care card, demonstrating good reach into disadvantaged groups. On average Go4Fun children participants achieve clinically and statistically significant health and behavioural outcomes. BMI decreases by 0.6kg/m2 and recovery heart rate by 4.9 beats/minute. Fruit and vegetable intakes increase by 0.3 serves/day and 0.6 serves/day. Time spent in physical activity increases by 3.5 hours/week and in sedentary activities decreases by 2.9 hours/week while self-esteem improves significantly.

The recent RCT found that there was no difference in participation or outcomes between the once a week or twice a week version, and that at six month follow up that that BMI z-score remained statistically lower at six months after program completion (p<0.01).

The NSW Go4Fun program offers an effective community based solution to the treatment of overweight and obesity in children, particularly for disadvantaged families.