Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network using technology to help prevent childhood obesity

EDMONTON, Oct. 15, 2015 /CNW/ - Researchers conducting a study at the Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network (PCN) are using an innovative technology to help parents better identify their children's diet and physical activity habits in an effort to prevent childhood obesity.

RIPPLE (the Resource Information Program for Parents on Lifestyle & Education) is a screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment program. The program is designed to screen children's weight status, deliver a brief intervention to parents related to children's lifestyle behaviours, and provide referrals to treatment and other supportive resources for parents.

Parents of 5 to 17 year olds are given an opportunity to participate while they wait for their appointment with their pediatrician at the Allin Clinic. Using a tablet, parents answer a series of questions related to their children's eating and activity habits.

"Through this technology, parents are giving us better, more accurate information about their children's lifestyles. In turn, this helps us provide better support for families," explained Jillian Avis, a PhD candidate with the Department of Pediatrics (Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry) at the University of Alberta.

Through the tablet, parents have an opportunity to choose from a number of handouts to help their children and families make healthier lifestyle choices. In addition, families are connected to health services (e.g., dietitian counseling) in the PCN that can help them achieve their health goals.

"We're hoping to enhance parents' awareness and increase their motivation to support children's healthy lifestyle behaviors," said Dr. Geoff Ball, associate professor with the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta. "We follow up after one month to determine what, if any, changes are taking place and to connect them to more resources, if necessary."

Parents have ongoing access to the resources and new resources are added regularly. The goal is to motivate parents to help their children lead healthy lifestyles and to adequately support them in that goal.

This project is funded by a research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions, and Public Health Agency of Canada.

About the Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network.

The Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network serves over 150,000 patients in Edmonton clinics. The network's family physicians and clinic staff work with a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals to provide coordinated care for patients and support healthy lifestyle choices.

SOURCE Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network

Image with caption: "Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network (CNW Group/Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151015_C5310_PHOTO_EN_521617.jpg

For further information: Media inquiries may be directed to: Colleen Enns, Executive Director, Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network, Phone: 780.243.1278, Web: edmontonoliverpcn.com

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