Obesity Prevention Plus Parenting Support (OPPS)

University of Vermont


Obesity Prevention Plus Parenting Support (OPPS) is a direct education intervention designed to improve nutrition and physical activity behaviors in overweight American Indian mothers and their young children (ages nine months to three years). The program lasts 16-weeks and consists of lessons on 11 parenting topics focused on supporting changes in lifestyle behaviors, including nutrition, physical activity, and parenting. An indigenous peer educator, who participates in an initial 120-hour training followed by monthly staff development sessions, delivers the program in participant’s homes.

NOTE: Portions of this program may be SNAP-Ed appropriate. It could be done in collaboration with others. The costs of the home visits may be prohibitive.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Intervention Reach and Adoption

OPPS targets overweight American Indian mothers with children ages 9 months to three years and is delivered by a peer educator within their home. The pilot study for the program took place in the St. Regis Mohawk community of Akwesasne, which is located along the St. Lawrence River in northern New York and Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

Setting: Community

Target Audience: Preschool (<5 years old), Parents/Mothers/Fathers

Race/Ethnicity: Native Americans/Alaska Natives

Intervention Components

OPPS includes 16 home visit sessions with 11 parenting lesson topics focused on eating and physical activity behaviors delivered by an indigenous peer educator. The peer educator is trained through a 120-hour intensive training program followed by monthly staff development sessions. The program was adapted from the Active Parenting Curriculum, which emphasizes the child’s psychological can behavioral goals, mutual respect, encouragement techniques, and logical and natural consequences.

Intervention Materials

Evidence Summary

OPPS is an evidence-based program. A randomized control pilot study compared OPPS to parenting support only (PS) and found that OPPS showed positive outcomes that indicate its potential for obesity prevention in Native-American children at high-risk for obesity.

  • Changes in weight-for-height z scores showed a trend towards significance with children in the OPPS group decreasing and the PS group increasing (-0.27 ± 1 vs 0.31 ± 1.1, p=0.06).
  • Children in the OPPS group significantly decreased energy intake compared to children in the PS group (-316 ± 835 kcal/day vs 197 ± 608 kcal/day, p <0.05).
  • Mothers in the OPPS group engaged in less restrictive child feeding practices overtime, with the restriction scores on the Child Feeding Questionnaire significantly decreasing (-0.22 ±42 vs. 0.08 ± 0.63, p<0.05).
  • www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12740449

Classification: Evidence-based

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST3 MT1, MT3 LT1,LT3
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence

Evaluation Materials

The pilot study assessed the following outcomes using the described evaluation methods:

  • Height and weight were used to calculate weight-for-height z scores using Epi Info 2000 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA)
  • Diet was assessed for mothers and children using 3-day food records.
  • Physical activity in mothers and children was assessed using TriTrac accelerometers (TriTrac-R3D Research Ergometer; Hemokinetics, Inc., Madison WI).
  • Determinants of maternal eating and physical activity behavior were assessed through surveys.
  • The Child Feeding Questionnaire was used to assess child feeding beliefs and practices.
  • http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2003.87/full


Additional Information

Contact Person(s):
Jean Harvey
Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences
University of Vermont, 109 Carrigan Dr
250 Carrigan Wing
Burlington, VT 05405-0148
Phone: (802) 656-0668
Email: Jean.Harvey@uvm.edu