Health4Kids (H4K) Intervention Trial for Hispanic Families

The IHPR at UT Health San Antonio has launched a five-year, $2.9 million obesity management program that uses family counseling, text messages and newsletters to control weight and spark healthier eating and physical activity habits in obese/overweight Latino kids.

Researchers will develop and test the six-month program, called Health4Kids (H4K) among 230 child-parent pairs in three pediatric clinics of the University Health System. Half the child-parent pairs will get in-clinic counseling on how to make healthy changes. The other half will get the same in-clinic counseling – plus phone counseling and culturally tailored text messages and newsletters to reinforce changes suggested through counseling.

“We believe kids in the more intensive group will significantly improve their body composition, increase their physical activity levels, consume more fruits and vegetables and fewer sugary drinks, and decrease their sedentary habits, like watching TV,” said Deborah Parra-Medina, Ph.D., M.P.H., the study’s principal investigator.

H4K counseling will focus on consuming more fruits and vegetables and less sugar-sweetened beverages, limiting screen time and being active at least one hour a day. Strategies to improve eating habits include eating breakfast daily, eating more meals at home, eating meals as a family most days, and allowing the child to self-regulate his/her meals. Dr. Parra-Medina and her colleagues will develop content for culturally tailored newsletters and text messages to reinforce those concepts. The team will measure the impact of the program on body composition, insulin, glucose and cholesterol levels, and health behavior changes, like fruit and vegetable consumption.

Principle Investigators

Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, IHPR, UT Health San Antonio


Laura Esparza, IHPR, UT Health San Antonio


Carisse Orsi, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, UT Health San Antonio Yuanyuan Liang, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, UT Health San Antonio David Akopian, UT San Antonio


News Release (2014):