Themes - 12 July 2016

en - The Role of Families in Health Promotion: Family Wisdom about Health and Wellness Knowledge, Strategies, and Barriers

Leslie M. Carroll, MUP Melissa C. Vickers, MEd
September 2014
This summary report is dedicated to the families who participated in the IMPACT Health and Wellness Initiative focus and discussion groups, to those who took the time to answer the summer 2014 survey, and to the family leaders and organizations who contributed so much time and energy to gather the perspectives of culturally diverse families. Thank you ! “When it comes to understanding family wisdom - parents have given us gems. We hope that health providers and policy makers will listen to the wisdom that these families have shared, to better address social determinants of health which create ongoing health disparities.” “…Parents …must, and do, prioritize how they will spend their time and energy. They are open to learning from trusted others, and like to share ideas and concerns. There is room for new information and better ways to do things. But it takes time, and it takes trust, and it takes getting good health promotion information that is meaningful and accessible.” “We need to look at life coaching rather than prescriptions. It is about being a partner in change, not a didactic direction.”
— Family leaders who participated in the Family Voices IMPACT Health and Wellness Initiative.
Family Voices believes in the power of research informed directly by families. Such research can lead to enduring practices adopted by both families and health professionals. Over the course of three years (2011-2014), through focus and discussion groups and a health survey, culturally diverse families shared their perspectives and priorities about wellness and prevention. What families want – a holistic approach to health and wellbeing – fits well with the overarching spectrum of health promotion topics found in the Bright Futures Health Promotion recommendations. The Bright Futures health promotion themes include :  Promoting Family Support  Promoting Child Development (families wanted to call it Promoting Healthy Child Development)  Promoting Mental Health (families wanted to call it Promoting Emotional Wellness and Mental Health)  Promoting Healthy Weight  Promoting Healthy Nutrition (families wanted to call it Promoting Healthy Food and Eating) Promoting Physical Activity  Promoting Oral Health  Promoting Healthy Sexual Development and Sexuality  Promoting Safety and Injury Prevention  Promoting Community Relationships and Resources Each Bright Futures health promotion theme has dozens, if not hundreds, of recommendations, and no one person or family can do all of these things all of the time. What recommendations are most important to families ? How do families incorporate wellness and health promotion into their daily lives ? What tips and strategies do they have for making it easier to accomplish these activities ? IMPACT asked (1) what families know about Bright Futures recommendations for the health of infants, children, and adolescents ; (2) strategies families use to promote health and wellness for all of their children, including those with special health care needs ; and (3) barriers families face when it comes to health promotion and chronic disease prevention. This was not a research project, and funding was minimal (only $3300 per F2F). We based our focus and discussion group scripts on scripts that were developed in a previous research project (Family Voices Family Matters, Tufts/CDC 2008), which we modified to fit the needs of this project. We also used focus group facilitator training methods that were developed for the Tufts/CDC methods. Confidentiality of participants was protected. The focus and discussion groups were peer-led, run by trusted family leaders who were trained in the art of facilitating focus groups. After the focus and discussion groups, we developed and disseminated a survey, Learning about Health and Wellness : Strategies, Tips, and Barriers from Families, to reach a broader base of families, and asked questions similar to the focus group scripts.