Preparing Child Care Health Consultants to Address Childhood Overweight: A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Web to In-Person Training
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OBJECTIVES: Child care centers have recently become targets for overweight prevention efforts directed at young children. Child Care Health Consultants (CCHCs), who provide consultation to these centers, receive little training on the basic nutrition and physical activity principles important for the promotion of child healthy weight. Traditional approaches, such as in-person training, are limited in their ability to disseminate health information to a geographically diverse population of health professionals. The purpose of this study was to determine if web-based training is as effective as in-person training. METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was conducted between August 2005 and June 2006 with 50 CCHCs. Web-based and in-person trained CCHCs were compared to each other and to controls. The main outcome of this study was performance on a test of nutrition knowledge related to childhood overweight measured by a 28-item multiple choice test administered pre- and post-training. RESULTS: Results from the ANCOVA model suggest that web trained CCHCs performed similarly to in-person trained CCHCs on the knowledge test (P < .0001). Additionally, both training groups improved significantly compared to controls (P < .0001 for each group). CONCLUSIONS: This study found no significant differences in post-training knowledge between in-person and web trained Child Care Health Consultants. Scores on the post-training knowledge test were within 0.5 points for the in-person and web trained groups. These results demonstrate that web-based instruction is as effective as in-person training on improving basic nutrition and physical activity knowledge for promoting healthy weight in preschool children.
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