Development of an innovative process evaluation approach for the families improving together (FIT) for weight loss trial in African American adolescents

Kassandra A. Alia, Dawn K. Wilson, Tyler McDaniel, Sara M. St. George, Heather Kitzman-Ulrich, Kelsey Smith, Va Shawn Heatley, Courtney Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This study demonstrates how a multi-theoretical, multilevel process evaluation was used to assess implementation of the Families Improving Together (FIT) for weight loss intervention. FIT is a randomized controlled trial evaluating a culturally tailored, motivational plus family-based program on weight loss in African American adolescents and their parents. Social Cognitive, Self Determination, Family Systems theories and cultural tailoring principles guided the conceptualization of essential elements across individual/family, facilitator, and group levels. Data collection included an observational rating tool, attendance records, and a validated psychosocial measure. Results: Attendance records (0. = absent, 1. = present, criteria. = ≥70%) indicated that 71.5% of families attended each session. The survey (1. = false, 6. = true, criteria. = ≥4.5) indicated that participants perceived a positive group climate (M= 5.16, SD. = 0.69). A trained evaluator reported that facilitator dose delivered (0. = no, 1. = yes, criteria = ≥75%) was high (99.6%), and fidelity (1. = none to 4. = all, criteria. = ≥3) was adequate at facilitator (M= 3.63, SD = 0.41) and group levels (M= 3.35, SD. = 0.49). Five cultural topics were raised by participants related to eating (n= 3) and physical activity (n= 2) behaviors and were integrated as part of the final curriculum. Discussion: Results identify areas for program improvement related to delivery of multi-theoretical and cultural tailoring elements. Findings may inform future strategies for implementing effective weight loss programs for ethnic minority families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-116
Number of pages11
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • African American
  • Process evaluation
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Business and International Management
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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