Graduation Date

Spring 5-8-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research

First Advisor

Brandon Grimm

Second Advisor

Paul Estabrooks

Third Advisor

Kendra Schmid

Fourth Advisor

Ronald Shope


Overweight and obesity rates are a continuing concern resulting in poor health outcomes and annual healthcare costs in the billions of dollars. An upstream approach of health promotion is critical to change the focus from treatment and management to prevention of chronic disease. Preventing chronic disease through evidence-based health promotion practices incorporating educational interventions aimed at dietary and physical activity behaviors will preclude negative health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.

The family environment is an important consideration in the prevention of chronic disease including obesity. Parents are role models for their children, including fathers who are underrepresented in research, exploring their role in their children’s dietary intake, weight, and health status. Furthermore, the limited research on a father’s role on their children’s dietary and physical activity behaviors is not founded in health behavior theory and is mainly qualitative research.

This study utilized a mixed methods research study design and the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). The explanatory sequential mixed methods study design of this research included an educational intervention variant and used the qualitative strand to help explain the results of the quantitative strand. This increased understanding of the effectiveness of this nutrition and physical activity (PA) education intervention from the participants’ viewpoints. SCT’s cognitive, environmental, and behavioral constructs provided a more in-depth understanding of fathers’ knowledge, self-efficacy, and outcome expectations pre and post nutrition and PA education intervention. Additionally, fathers’ preferences for delivery of a nutrition education intervention were explored.

This study revealed the Eating Smart Being Active (ESBA) curriculum, as delivered by an experienced Registered Dietitian, was successful in producing a positive change in the healthy lifestyle habits of fathers. This study also showed that the ESBA curriculum can be delivered successfully online. Study participants expressed the online delivery option was convenient and preferable in some cases. The online delivery option is especially important during this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic.