The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 529–553 | Cite as

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. GeorgeEmail author
  • Sarah E. Messiah
  • Krystal M. Sardinas
  • Sofia Poma
  • Cynthia Lebron
  • Maria I. Tapia
  • Maria Rosa Velazquez
  • Hilda Pantin
  • Guillermo Prado
Original Paper


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.


Family functioning Obesity Intervention Prevention Hispanic 



This study was funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01 MD007724) to Guillermo Prado, Ph.D. (contact PI) and Sarah Messiah, Ph.D., MPH (Co-PI).

Compliance With Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara M. St. George
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah E. Messiah
    • 1
    • 2
  • Krystal M. Sardinas
    • 2
  • Sofia Poma
    • 1
  • Cynthia Lebron
    • 1
  • Maria I. Tapia
    • 1
  • Maria Rosa Velazquez
    • 1
  • Hilda Pantin
    • 1
  • Guillermo Prado
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA

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