Clinicians Deliver Brief Messages to Prevent Childhood Obesity in Maine Pilot Program

Pilot program to train physicians to coach families to modify behavior and prevent childhood obesity in Maine

From April 2004 through October 2005, staff at MEM Associates worked with subcontractors to design and pilot test a program—called the Maine Obesity Primary Prevention Project—aimed at preventing obesity among pregnant women and children under age 5.

The central strategy focused on training physicians and other clinical staff to use brief counseling interventions to instill in their pregnant patients and parents of young children a family culture of healthy habits in nutrition and physical activity.

Three clinics in Farmington, Maine, and one in Trexlertown, Pa. (added at the request of RWJF staff) participated in the project.

Key Results

  • From January through September 2005, physicians and clinical staff participating in the pilot provided approximately 1,500 pregnant woman and parents of young children with messages about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, nutrition and physical exercise.

Key Findings

  • The Maine Obesity Primary Prevention Project was effective in positively changing some providers' practices and patients' perceptions of healthy lifestyle messages coming from their providers.