Reach-Out Chicago Childhood Diabetes Prevention Project

Reach-Out, a family-based nutrition and exercise program for overweight African American youth ages 9-12 and their families, was led by lay health leaders and conducted in a community setting on Chicago’s South Side.

Age appropriate interactive sessions focused on skills building, problem solving and setting goals during 14 weekly sessions, with monthly meetings thereafter. Curriculum was created from review of existing child weight management programs and of the DPP lifestyle curriculum, and informed by our qualitative research of families on Chicago’s South Side.  Trained and supported lay health leaders successfully engaged participants in the program. In the pilot phase, pre-post comparisons were made for 29 families (62 subjects), using physical (BMI, blood pressure, waist circumference), biochemical (glucose, insulin, lipid levels) and behavioral data. Statistical analyses included mixed effects linear models and logistic regression. The pilot phase showed promising results with modest decline in BMI z-score. Children’s mean BMI z-score fell from 2.46 at baseline to 2.38 at 14 weeks and 2.39 at 1 year (p=.02), while parents’ BMI remained stable. A lower-intensity support and discussion group served as the control condition in the subsequent 5 year, randomized trial. Recruiting participants presented some challenge; subsequent ads in a a local African American newsmagazine proved successful in attracting families to participate. Participants included 131 families (children ages 9-12 and their parents). Children’s mean BMI at baseline was 33.  Significant differences in children’s BMI z-score between groups over time were not found. A possible interpretation is that children who are this heavy need more intensive, medical intervention rather than a weekly, community-based program. Subsequent experience in the after-school setting (Power-Up project described here, with children of varying baseline body habitus) supports this interpretation.

Principal Investigator: Deborah L. Burnet, MD, MA
Research Team:
Andrea J. Plaut, MPH
Sarah A. Wolf, MPH, RD
Dezheng Huo, PhD
Marla C. Solomon, RD, LD, CDE
Gameli Dekayie, BA
Michael T. Quinn, PhD
Rebecca Lipton, PhD
Althera Steenes
Marshall H. Chin, MD, MPH

Funding Sources:
NIH/NIDDK R18 DK62992-01A2
NIH-funding for Pilot Project through University of Chicago Diabetes Research and Training Center
University of Chicago Digestive Diseases Research Core Center, additional nutrition research funding
University of Chicago Children’s Hospital Golf Classic grant fund