Family carers’ experiences of participating in a weight management programme for overweight children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities: An exploratory study
R. L. T. Lee; M. Brown; C. Leung; H. Chen; L. Louie; J. L. Chen; P. H. Lee
Year of publication
J Adv Nurs
AIM: To gain insight into the experiences of family carers participating in a weight management programme via mHealth tools for overweight children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities. BACKGROUND: Many weight reduction programs fail to show positive and sustainable impacts due to not involving parents, who are usually unavailable to attend school-based health programs. The mHealth interactive interventions were carried out in September 2015-August 2016, engaging carers to monitor and sustain their children's healthy lifestyle behaviours at home being one way to achieve this. DESIGN: Qualitative research design to conduct focus group discussion with family carers involved in a school-based weight management programme via the mHealth interventions. METHODS: An exploratory study was used to examine family carers' views of participating in a weight management programme. Focus group interviews examined the in-depth experiences of 20 family carers in providing social support and monitoring lifestyle behaviours via the mHealth interactive interventions. RESULTS: Twenty family carers were recruited and four themes emerged: (a) improving family carer-child interactions and communications; (b) gaining useful and practical health information from experts; (c) supporting each other via an mHealth platform; and (d) appreciating the collaborative effort between school personnel and family carers. Family carers stressed the usefulness of the mHealth interactive interventions in monitoring and sustaining the children's healthy lifestyle behaviours at home. CONCLUSION: The mHealth interactive interventions for increasing family carers' involvement and monitoring were well received. The findings provide new insights into using mHealth interventions in future weight management programmes involving parental participation in the home environment.