A health literate approach to the prevention of childhood overweight and obesity

Richard O. White, Jessica R. Thompson, Russell L. Rothman, Amanda M. McDougald Scott, William J. Heerman, Evan C. Sommer, Shari L. Barkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe a systematic assessment of patient educational materials for the Growing Right Onto Wellness (GROW) trial, a childhood obesity prevention study targeting a low health literate population. Methods: Process included: (1) expert review of educational content, (2) assessment of the quality of materials including use of the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM) tool, and (3) material review and revision with target population. Results: 12 core modules were developed and assessed in an iterative process. Average readability was at the 6th grade reading level (SMOG Index 5.63 ± 0.76, and Fry graph 6.0 ± 0.85). SAM evaluation resulted in adjustments to literacy demand, layout & typography, and learning stimulation & motivation. Cognitive interviews with target population revealed additional changes incorporated to enhance participant's perception of acceptability and feasibility for behavior change. Conclusion: The GROW modules are a collection of evidence-based materials appropriate for parents with low health literacy and their preschool aged children, that target the prevention of childhood overweight/obesity. Practice implications: Most trials addressing the treatment or prevention of childhood obesity use written materials. Due to the ubiquitous prevalence of limited health literacy, our described methods may assist researchers in ensuring their content is both understood and actionable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-618
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Childhood obesity
  • Education
  • Evaluation
  • Health literacy
  • Intervention development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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