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Parenting and Childhood Obesity Treatment/Prevention

Join the eXtension Child and Family Learning Network, along with Medical Family Therapist, Dr. Keeley Pratt, for a webinar on the importance of parenting in treating and preventing childhood obesity.  This free webinar will focus on the life-long implications that the early years have for the future health of our children and how ages 0-5 represent a critical “developmental window” in obesity prevention and treatment.

Dr. Pratt will discuss primary care obesity prevention in healthcare settings and methods for engaging parents of youth in weight-related conversations. She will also outline an exemplar project sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics–Ohio Chapter, Parenting at Mealtime and Playtime (PMP). PMP aims to improve provider anticipatory guidance around obesity prevention topics––ultimately increasing the parent/guardian-child relationship––and establish healthy dietary and activity behaviors in early childhood to prevent obesity.

In this session, participants will:

  • receive current research and evidence-based guidelines on parenting, diet and physical activity behaviors, and obesity prevention in early childhood (0-5 years);
  • discuss a project addressing obesity prevention in primary care, and the related family systems components; and
  • consider methods for applying PMP concepts in their own unique settings.


Keeley J. Pratt, Ph.D.,
is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Sciences (Human Development and Family Science--Couple and Family Therapy Program Area) at The Ohio State University. Dr. Pratt, an Independently Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, is a clinical fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a member of the Ohio Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Board. 

Dr. Pratt graduated with her doctorate in Medical Family Therapy (2010), and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship (2010-2012) in an Obesity Signature Program at Research Triangle Institute International (RTI). For the past decade, Dr. Pratt has worked with Pediatric Obesity Treatment Centers, residential Healthy Lifestyle Camps, Primary Care Practices, school-health programs, and more recently, Bariatric Units as a clinician-researcher. 

Dr. Pratt’s research focuses on intergenerational approaches to child and adolescent obesity treatment, including: 

  1. family-based factors (i.e., parenting styles and practices, feeding styles and practices, family functioning, and parenting around physical activity behaviors) that contribute to or are modifiable in the treatment of child/adolescent obesity;
  2. intergenerational outcomes (e.g., child, sibling, parent, grandparent) from integrated-multidisciplinary care models in the treatment of child/adolescent obesity; and
  3. assessing and expanding mental health education to include clinician training on systemic weight-related behaviors in families, and training to work with clients and families who are struggling with overweight and obesity. 

The majority of Dr. Pratt’s work has focused on African American families and communities, and incorporating the socio-cultural narratives passed down in African American families about feeding, health, and body size. Dr. Pratt has more than 60 local, national, and international conferences presentations and over 30 publications, and has received funding in the areas of Medical Family Therapy,  behavioral healthcare in pediatrics, and child and adolescent family-based or integrated obesity prevention and treatment.


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