Padres Preparados, Jovenes Saludables Program Description

The Padres Preparados, Jóvenes Saludables (Prepared Parents, Healthy Youth; Padres for short) is federally funded family-skills obesity prevention program for Latino immigrant fathers. The program was developed following participative principles, including focus group, father advisory board, input from leaders of Latino serving organization, and university faculty. The program consists of eight 2-hour weekly sessions for Latino fathers and youth ages 10-14 years.

The purpose of the program is to strengthen positive parenting practices to help youth eat healthy foods and be physically active and prevent health problems and overweight. Each session follows an active learning and interactive approach for fathers (caregivers) and youth to: (a) Prepare food together and share a meal; (b) Learn about nutrition and physical activity together; and (c) Be physically active together with Zumba, yoga, dance, and relay activities.

Latino fathers (or male caregivers) and youth are eligible to participate and mothers (female caregivers) are encouraged and welcome to attend. The sessions for parents are in Spanish and the sessions for youth are in English. Participation in the program is voluntary and free. The program is held in in partnership with community organizations. We hope that our community partners can assist with recruiting at least 20 families to participate, host the sessions for families, assist in teaching the sessions, and provide a space and staff to help with childcare for younger children.

Program Evaluation

During 2018 to 2020 we are evaluating the program in a staggered fashion. At each implementing site, we conduct three survey sessions with parents and youth, 1) the first survey is conducted before the program starts (pre-test), 2) the second survey, right after the program ends (post-test), and 3) the last is a follow-up (3 months after the program). The surveys are used to determine in what ways the program works, for whom and under what conditions, to achieve the main parenting outcomes and youth diet and physical activity outcomes. At the first survey session, enrolled families will be assigned into one of two groups, a) half of the families are asked to attend the 8 weekly sessions first (beginning the next week), and b) the other half are asked to attend the sessions after the follow-up survey.

Blended Learning Delivery

To compliment the in-person experience, the research team decided to explore a blended learning delivery of the intervention via a mHealth application. See table 1. A blended program delivery (in-person and via mHealth application) can address the limitation of attending the in-person sessions alone. An app will enable fathers to access three of the intervention sessions remotely and thereby increase completion of the intervention. Few mHealth nutrition education application exist for Latino parents (especially fathers). Additionally, this application enables to customize participant-center elements, such as supporting family goals, receive reminders, among others. Finally, the use of an open source app platform will reduce costs and permit wide replication of the intervention.

Padres (an established family-skills intervention) will be adapted for blended delivery. The health interventions based on social cognitive theory, modeling reasoning and teaching, home availability and accessibility, social support, and principles of mHealth. The app will address key barriers for participation and increase fathers' engagement, leading to increase the likelihood of household behavioral changes, while reinforcing behavior change through targeted app-based messages to all participants in the household.

Free App Download

The Padres Preparados, Jovenes Saludables app is available for free download on the Google Play store for Android mobile phones and tablets. The app is also available for free download in iTunes for iPhones and iPads. If you have any questions, please contact us and we'll be happy to help.

Free Download for Android devices

Free Download for iOS devices