This study will provide the first large scale evaluation of the impact of NCMP feedback on parental risk perceptions, health behaviours and help seeking behaviours. Data from the demographically and ethnically diverse cohort of parents will provide information on the effectiveness and relative costs of different methods of providing feedback, as well as socio-demographic influences on the impact of NCMP feedback. Previous weight feedback studies have generally focussed on outcomes of parental awareness of child overweight and potential distress of the child or parent [5
]; few have assessed intention to change or actual changes in lifestyle behaviour. Previous studies have evaluated the impact of written feedback (including personalised health report cards and individually tailored feedback letters); however, to date there has been no evaluation of providing weight feedback via
the telephone. The NCMP is a Department of Health Initiative and is conducted in all state primary schools around England. A few small scale evaluations of aspects of the NCMP feedback approach have been conducted; however, this study will offer the first formal and comprehensive evaluation of its impact [10
]. The present study will examine multiple outcomes that are pertinent to the NCMP, including health service use and cost implications, enabling a more comprehensive evaluation of its impact.
The universal scope of the NCMP means that there is no comparison group against which the impact of feedback can be compared. In order to minimise some of the biases associated with pre-/post-test designs with a single group, a short time interval between baseline and follow-up questionnaires is planned; this will minimise the effect of any background behaviour changes that may occur independently of the feedback letter. Study instruments have also been designed to be as similar as possible at all time points. The use of self-report measures of lifestyle behaviour and health service use will increase the potential for recall bias; previously validated measures will be used where possible to minimise this bias.
It is anticipated that there may be a low response rate and response bias towards parents who are more interested and engaged in their child’s health [13
]. To address these issues the questionnaire will be distributed to all parents of children enrolled in the NCMP and a number of reminders and incentives will be used. The study information provided to parents will highlight that the evaluation is being performed independently of the organisations responsible for the NCMP and that all views of the NCMP, whether positive or negative, will be welcomed. Questionnaires will be piloted with parents of school aged children to ensure the language used is easily understood and non-judgemental.
To summarise, this study will be the largest and most comprehensive evaluation of the NCMP feedback to date, with outcomes that cover a wide range of potential benefits or harms of receiving weight feedback.