Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


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First Advisor's Name

Dr. Catherine Coccia

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Fatma Huffman

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Commitee member

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Adriana Campa

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Dr. Florence George

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Asian Indian Fathers, web-based nutrition education, childhood obesity, health behaviors

Date of Defense



Research has shown that fathers, like mothers, are an important influence for forming children’s dietary and physical activity habits. Fathers’ nutrition knowledge, attitudes and child feeding practices impact children’s eating behavior and future weight status. Yet very few interventions have focused on targeting fathers for childhood obesity prevention by improving their knowledge and confidence in establishing healthy eating patterns in children. The limited studies existing in this area have focused on other ethnicities and data is missing on Asian Indians, the third largest immigrant Asian group in the United States. Asian Indian children are at equal risk for developing obesity in the United States due to dietary acculturation and consumption of diet rich in fat, sodium and sugar. There is a novel need to understand the efficacy of involving Asian Indian (AI) fathers in nutrition education interventions focused on improving their nutrition related knowledge, and its efficacy on bringing positive behavior changes for both fathers and children.

The aim of this study was to examine the feasibility of a social cognitive theory-based online nutrition education program with Facebook and text message support to improve the knowledge, attitudes and child feeding practices of AI fathers along with social cognitive theory related mediators. In this pilot, quasi -experimental study without randomization, 98 fathers were involved in a 6 week web program focused on healthy eating and physical activity. 75 fathers completed both the post program and follow up questionnaires (12 weeks from baseline).

Results of this study indicated a significant improvement in AI fathers’ nutrition knowledge, self-efficacy, self-regulation, overall diet quality, physical activity and a reduction in restrictive feeding practices. Improvements were also noted in previous day reported child fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity minutes and a reduction in total fat consumed/day. These findings demonstrate the preliminary efficacy of a web-based intervention to improve determinants of behavior change (knowledge and self-efficacy) of AI fathers and healthy eating and physical activity behaviors in both AI fathers and their children. Future studies should consider the role of diverse groups of AI fathers in childhood obesity prevention.




ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1436-0002

Included in

Nutrition Commons



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