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Pediatric Obesity Study Methodology


The study involves 110 12-14-year-old racially diverse children of both genders who are diagnosed with obesity, as well as their parents. The criteria for inclusion are the following: children should be diagnosed with obesity during the recent two years; they have not taken medication treatment for their obesity problem; only one parent can represent a family. Fifty-five pairs of a parent and a child are assigned to the group receiving pharmacological treatment, and the other fifty-five pairs are assigned to the group receiving parent education.

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Sampling Strategy

A non-probability purposive sampling technique has been selected for this project. The reason for choosing this strategy is that families having children with obesity need to be found and attracted to participate in the study intentionally (Campbell & Stanley, 2015). Parents of children with obesity are contacted in healthcare centers, hospitals, and other medical facilities with the help of dieticians and other healthcare providers. These parents are offered more information on the project to decide on their participation.

Research Design

A quasi-experimental research design is selected for this study in order to address its purpose and answer the set research questions. Quasi-experimental designs based on pretest-posttest assessments, similarly to experiments, allow for measuring how a manipulated independent variable can influence a dependent variable. However, in these studies, participants cannot be randomly assigned to groups and conditions (Campbell & Stanley, 2015). The rationale for selecting a quasi-experimental design is that it allows for evaluating the effectiveness of the proposed intervention in situations when the random assignment of participants to conditions is problematic because of their diversity. A pretest-posttest type of this design allows for concluding about the effectiveness of the assigned treatment or intervention.

Extraneous Variables

Extraneous variables that can potentially influence the results of this research are children’s race and health status. Some races are viewed as having higher rates of pediatric obesity in their communities, and to control this variable, racially and ethnically diverse participants are recruited. Furthermore, the health status of children and comorbidities associated with obesity can potentially affect the results of interventions. Therefore, children are selected depending on their generally positive health status and the absence of such comorbidities as diabetes and digestive diseases.


In order to assess the effectiveness of both interventions regarding changes in children’s obesity, it is necessary to use such an instrument as the Lifestyle Behavior Checklist. This measurement allows for assessing parents’ vision of problems associated with children’s behaviors (a Problem scale) and parents’ confidence in overcoming these problems (a Confidence scale). The scale includes items regarding children’s dietary habits and physical activity that are measured with the help of a 7-point Likert scale. This tool is discussed in the literature as highly reliable and valid with Cronbach’s α in 0.85-0.95 (Kim, Park, Park, Lee, & Ham, 2016). Thus, the scales used in the Lifestyle Behavior Checklist are characterized by a high level of internal consistency.

Additionally, the eating behaviors of children should be assessed with the help of the Dietary Self-Efficacy Scale that includes 15 items measured with the help of a 3-point Likert scale. Cronbach’s α related to this scale is 0.84-0.82, which accentuates its high reliability and validity (Sögüt, 2018). In addition, children’s Body Mass Index (BMI) also needs to be measured to conclude on changes in children’s obesity status (Kim et al., 2016). The measurement of BMI is traditionally viewed as an effective approach to assessing possible changes in people’s weight.

Description of the Intervention

Two types of interventions are to be proposed in this project: parent education on a healthy lifestyle for children and pharmacological treatment. Children’s BMI should be measured during the pre-test period of the project (Sögüt, 2018). Parents of children belonging to the first group are expected to receive a 6-week education regarding appropriate diets, physical activity plans, and daily schedules for children. The focus is on educating parents on how to change the life of their children in accordance with the principles of a healthy lifestyle to decrease weight and improve their physical and emotional state. Information on the nutritional value of products, daily dietary plans, and appropriate physical activity and exercise should be provided (Kim et al., 2016; Sögüt, 2018). Parents from the second group should contact healthcare providers and use prescribed medications for their children to contribute to decreasing adolescents’ weight.

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Data Collection Procedures

The procedures for collecting data during the post-test period after applying interventions include conducting surveys and measuring BMI for children representing both groups. After six weeks of conducting the study, parents from both groups need to be contacted in order to fill in questionnaires related to the Lifestyle Behavior Checklist. They should also help adolescents in filling in the Dietary Self-Efficacy Scale. This information will be used in the context of independent variables identified for this study (Kim et al., 2016). Children should also be invited by the researcher for measuring BMI individually and as the percentage for the group, and this information will be used as a dependent variable in this project.


Campbell, D. T., & Stanley, J. C. (2015). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. New York, NY: Ravenio Books.

Kim, H. S., Park, J., Park, K. Y., Lee, M. N., & Ham, O. K. (2016). Parent involvement intervention in developing weight management skills for both parents and overweight/obese children. Asian Nursing Research, 10(1), 11-17.

Sögüt, S. C. (2018). Determining the differences in nutrition knowledge, dietary behaviors, physical activity and self-efficacy behaviors based on obesity status among adolescents. Journal of Human Sciences, 15(2), 747-754.

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