Healthy dads, healthy kids UK, a weight management programme for fathers: feasibility RCT

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

External organisations

  • St. George's Healthcare National Health Service Trust
  • Fatherhood Institute
  • Newcastle University


Objective To assess (1) the feasibility of delivering a culturally adapted weight management programme, Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids United Kingdom (HDHK-UK), for fathers with overweight or obesity and their primary school-aged children, and (2) the feasibility of conducting a definitive randomised controlled trial (RCT). Design A two-arm, randomised feasibility trial with a mixed-methods process evaluation. Setting Socioeconomically disadvantaged, ethnically diverse localities in West Midlands, UK. Participants Fathers with overweight or obesity and their children aged 4-11 years. Intervention Participants were randomised in a 1:2 ratio to control (family voucher for a leisure centre) or intervention comprising 9 weekly healthy lifestyle group sessions. Outcomes Feasibility of the intervention and RCT was assessed according to prespecified progression criteria: study recruitment, consent and follow-up, ability to deliver intervention, intervention fidelity, adherence and acceptability, weight loss, using questionnaires and measurements at baseline, 3 and 6 months, and through qualitative interviews. Results The study recruited 43 men, 48% of the target sample size; the mean body mass index was 30.2 kg/m 2 (SD 5.1); 61% were from a minority ethnic group; and 54% were from communities in the most disadvantaged quintile for socioeconomic deprivation. Recruitment was challenging. Retention at follow-up of 3 and 6 months was 63%. Identifying delivery sites and appropriately skilled and trained programme facilitators proved difficult. Four programmes were delivered in leisure centres and community venues. Of the 29 intervention participants, 20 (69%) attended the intervention at least once, of whom 75% attended ≥5 sessions. Sessions were delivered with high fidelity. Participants rated sessions as good/very good' and reported lifestyle behavioural change. Weight loss at 6 months in the intervention group (n=17) was 2.9 kg (95% CI-5.1 to-0.6). Conclusions The intervention was well received, but there were significant challenges in recruitment, programme delivery and follow-up. The HDHK-UK study was not considered feasible for progression to a full RCT based on prespecified stop-go criteria. Trial registration number ISRCTN16724454.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere033534
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Medical Journal Open
Issue number12
Early online date10 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Dec 2019


  • Feasibility studies, Fathers, Weight loss, Healthy lifestyle