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Why Parents First?


Consider the significance of putting on your own oxygen mask on an airplane before assisting others. What's the reason for this? If you don't take care of yourself first, you will not have enough oxygen to help those around you.

In this study, we are interested in learning more about whether providing a parent-only group program before providing a parent and child group program works better than the parent and child group program alone.

What is iAmHealthy Parents First?

iAmHealthy Parents First is a school- and clinic-based program that helps families learn about healthy lifestyles!

The program teaches healthy lifestyle skills that can help adults with weight loss and kids achieve a healthy weight, so we are asking parents with a BMI over 27 who have a child in grades 1-5 whose BMI is above the 85th percentile to participate. 

What is offered during the program?

You and your child will be randomly assigned to 1 of 2 different programs (either iAmHealthy Parents First or iAmHealthy) for the first 3 months for the parent intervention. No matter which group you are assigned to, after the 3-month parent intervention is completed, all participants (parents and children) will have the opportunity to take part in an educational group program (called iAmHealthy) with other adults and their children. 

iAmHealthy Parents First (Group 1): For families assigned to the iAmHealthy Parents First group, the parent will take part in a group program with other adults. These sessions will be delivered over Zoom. iAmHealthy staff will call you to ask what days/times you are available to do the group calls, and we will choose a date that works best for the families. You will participate in these group sessions weekly for 3 months. Each meeting will last approximately an hour and cover topics such as nutrition, physical activity, and problem solving.

iAmHealthy (Group 2): Parents assigned to Group 2 will be given the flexibility to start their weight loss journey using self-guided methods during the first 3 months. You will be mailed an informational booklet and corresponding letters monthly during this time. No formal group sessions or program materials will be provided.




Next 6 Months - iAmHealthy: At the end of the 3-month parent intervention (above), all participants (parents and children) will take part in an educational group program with other adults and their children. These meetings will be focused on living healthy lifestyles and engaging in healthy habits as a family and will occur three weeks out of four for four months. There will be three additional family-based group sessions spread over the final two months of the program. Group 1 adults will continue to meet monthly during the family-based program (on weeks when the family-based group does not meet) to continue the adult program.

The program focuses on helping parents and kids form healthy habits in a positive, supportive way. While the parent program is focused on weight loss, we do not focus on or discuss weight with the children.


What is required to participate?

  • Complete the following at 3 time points (the beginning of the study, the end of 3 months, and the end of 9 months):

    • Online questionnaires about your health and your child's health​

    • Weigh yourselves regularly on a scale provided by the study team

    • Measure your activity using Garmin activity watches provided by the study team


Are there incentives to participate?

  • A free, researched-based healthy lifestyles program.

  • A total of $225 to complete all measures in the study (at the beginning, at 3 months, and at 9 months).

  • Free Garmin scale and activity watches for you and your child. You can keep these devices after you've completed the program.

How do my child and I sign up?

Enter your information HERE and someone from our study team will contact you. If you have questions, call or text us at (833) 544-7433, or email us at

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