Familias Unidas for Health and Wellness: Adapting an Evidence-Based Substance Use and Sexual Risk Behavior Intervention for Obesity Prevention in Hispanic Adolescents

Sara M. St. George, Sarah E. Messiah, Krystal M. Sardinas, Sofia Poma, Cynthia Lebron, Maria I. Tapia, Maria Rosa Velazquez, Hilda Pantin, Guillermo Prado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


We describe the adaptation of Familias Unidas, an evidence-based substance use and sexual risk behavior intervention, for obesity prevention in Hispanic adolescents. Intervention developers and experts in pediatric obesity, exercise physiology, dietetics, and the local parks system provided input for changes. Hispanic families also provided input through a series of 21 focus groups conducted before, during, and after an initial pilot test of the adapted intervention. After transcribing audiotaped sessions, we used a general inductive approach and Dedoose qualitative software to derive themes. Results indicated the need for improved health-related family functioning, enhanced nutrition education and skill building, increased family engagement in physical activity, and stronger links between family and environmental supports. Parents who participated in the pilot test expressed high enthusiasm for hands-on nutrition training and reported improvements in family functioning. Adolescents liked outdoor physical activities but wanted parents to be more engaged in joint physical activity sessions. The adapted intervention maintains fidelity to Familias Unidas’ core theoretical elements and overall structure, but also includes content focused on physical activity and nutrition, adolescent participation in physical activity sessions led by park coaches, and joint parent-adolescent participation in physical activity and nutrition skill-building activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Family functioning
  • Hispanic
  • Intervention
  • Obesity
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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