Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Gretchen G. Peacock


An epidemic proportion of children and adolescents is currently overweight or at-risk of being overweight. This is associated with many negative outcomes, including short-term and long-term health risks, as well as increased psychosocial problems. The etiology of this problem is likely complex, though environmental factors (i.e., factors related to decreased physical activity and increased consumption of calories) have been implicated in previous research. Providing effective, easy-to-implement treatment strategies for children who are overweight or at-risk of being overweight could be helpful to reverse the current epidemic and to decrease current health care costs associated with pediatric obesity. The overall purpose of this study was to determine if use of stimulus management techniques were effective in reducing daily screen time behaviors of children who were overweight or at-risk of overweight (BMI percentile $ 85th perecentile). In addition to this primary research objective, secondary objectives addressed the following: (a) whether decreases in screen time were related to increases in physical activity and decreases in unhealthy snacking behaviors, (b) determining if decreases in screen time led to clinically meaningful improvements in BMI percentile, and (c) determining prospectively if treatment adherence was related to clinically meaningful improvements in BMI percentile. Results indicated that stimulus management techniques were helpful in reducing screen time behaviors and these changes were related to increases in physical activity. Screen time reductions were not associated with clinically meaningful changes in BMI percentile, nor was treatment adherence.