Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Introduction. To address obesity among children and families, higher numbers of trained providers are needed to identify obesity and initiate treatment. Nurses may be well-positioned to deliver such services given their diverse roles in pediatric healthcare, and this study was conducted in partnership with a school of nursing to evaluate two training methods for obesity screening and initial goal setting. Methods. Nursing students (N = 63) were randomized to either Live Interactive Training or Web-facilitated Self-study Training. Pre-training, post-training, and one-month follow-up assessments were conducted to determine the feasibility, acceptability, and impact (knowledge and skill demonstration) of Live versus Web training. Skill was assessed by standardized simulation scenarios. Results. Nearly all (98%) of the participants completed the three assessments, demonstrating the feasibility of the training and evaluation processes. Each training modality was rated as acceptable, but the acceptability rating was significantly higher in the Live versus Web training, F(1, 61) = 31.22, p < .001. There was not a significant difference in knowledge or skill between the conditions at any timepoint; rather, knowledge and skill significantly increased in both conditions, with post-training and follow-up scores demonstrating significant improvement compared to pre-training scores (all ps < .001). Engagement in the screening and intervention strategies during the follow-up interval was significantly higher in Live versus Web training (ps < .01). Conclusions. The overall training and assessment package for obesity screening and initial goal setting was feasible, acceptable, and effective in improving knowledge and skill among a cohort of nursing students. Both training approaches (Live and Web) were associated with improvements in knowledge and skill, and Live training was associated with greater acceptability and content engagement at follow-up. Given the scalability of online approaches, the inclusion of some of the interactive components from the live training condition in a web-based training may augment these outcomes while optimizing accessibility and engagement. Further exploration of these findings is warranted, including a larger and more diverse sample, longer duration of training and assessment intervals, and delivery to real patients. Future research may yield a greater understanding of feasible, practical, and effective training programs to enhance providers’ abilities to identify and address obesity among their patients and promote better health care delivery for children and families.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Denise E Wilfley

Committee Members

Deanna M Barch, Jane M Garbutt, Enola K Proctor, Thomas L Rodebaugh, Michael J Strube,


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Available for download on Thursday, August 15, 2115

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Psychology Commons