Overweight is affecting children at younger ages and in increasing numbers, putting them at risk for a lifetime of chronic disease. Consumption of unhealthy foods and time spent watching television have increased concurrently.
Parents of 526 children aged 2 to 4 years old enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) answered questions about their children's food and beverage consumption, television-viewing and computer time, and physical activity. The children's height and weight measurements were collected from administrative records. Crude and adjusted odds ratios were calculated to test for associations between demographic, consumption, and activity variables and overweight or at risk of overweight (body mass index ≥85th percentile for age and sex).
Of the participants, 38% of the children were overweight or at risk of overweight. Hispanic and white children were twice as likely as black children to be overweight or at risk of overweight. Fifty-eight percent of the children drank more than one and 30% drank more than two 8-oz servings of fruit juice per day. The children who drank more than one serving of nonjuice fruit drink per day (30%) had increased odds of being overweight or at risk of overweight. On average, the children spent more than twice as much time watching television and using computers as they did engaging in physical activity. In multivariate analyses, race and ethnicity as well as physical activity were associated with being overweight or at risk of overweight.
Efforts to improve nutrition and prevent overweight in children should focus on the parents of infants and toddlers and provide them with anticipatory guidance on physical activity for young children and nutrition and food transitions.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) serves 50% of infants and 25% of preschool-aged children in the U.S. and collects height and weight measurements from eligible children every six months, making WIC data a valuable resource for studying childhood growth and obesity. We assessed the accuracy of measurements collected by WIC staff by comparing them to “gold standard” measurements collected by trained research staff. At seven WIC clinics in southern California, 287 children ages 2–5 years measured by WIC staff using WIC standard protocol were re-measured by research staff using a research protocol (duplicate measurements with shoes and outerwear removed taken by trained personnel). Intraclass correlation coefficients measuring agreement between WIC and research protocol measurements for height, weight and body mass index (BMI) were 0.96, 0.99 and 0.93, respectively. Although WIC measurements overestimated height by 0.6 cm and weight by 0.05 kg on average, BMI was underestimated by only 0.15 kg/m2 on average. WIC BMI percentiles classified children as overweight/obese versus underweight/normal with 86% sensitivity and 92% specificity. We conclude that height, weight and BMI measurements of children aged 2–5 years collected by trained WIC staff are sufficiently accurate for monitoring and research purposes.
The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental food, nutrition and health education, and social services referral to pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women, and their infants and young children who are both low-income and at nutritional risk. A number of statistically controlled evaluations that compared prenatal women who received WIC services with demographically similar women who did not receive WIC services have found WIC enrollment associated with decreased levels of low birth weight among enrolled women's infants. Several also have found lower overall maternal and infant hospital costs among women who had received prenatal WIC services compared with similar women who did not receive prenatal WIC services. A meta-analysis of the studies shows that providing WIC benefits to pregnant women is estimated to reduce low birth weight rates 25 percent and reduce very low birth weight births by 44 percent. Using these data to estimate costs, prenatal WIC enrollment is estimated to have reduced first year medical costs for U.S. infants by $1.19 billion in 1992. Savings from a reduction in estimated Medicaid expenditures in the first year post-partum more than offset the cost of the Federal prenatal WIC Program. Even using more conservative assumptions, providing prenatal WIC benefits was cost-beneficial. Because of the estimated program cost-savings, the U.S. General Accounting Office has recommended that all pregnant women at or below 185 percent of Federal poverty level be eligible for the program.
As more U.S. children grow up in Latino families, understanding how social class, culture and environment influence feeding practices is key to preventing obesity. We conducted six focus groups and 20 in-depth interviews among immigrant, low-income Latina mothers in the Northeast U.S. and classified 17 emergent themes from content analysis according to ecologic frameworks for behavior change. Respondents related environmental influences to child feeding, diet and activity, i.e., supermarket proximity, food cost, access to recreational facilities, neighborhood safety and weather. Television watching was seen as integral to family life, including watching TV during meals and using TV as a babysitter and tool to learn English. Participation in the WIC Program helped families address food insecurity and child care provided healthy eating and physical activity opportunities. Health promotion efforts addressing obesity trends in Latino children must account for organizational and environmental influences on the day-to-day social context of young immigrant families.
social ecological model; obesity; Latino; maternal; children; cultural context
To assess relationships between characteristics of the home environment and preschool children's physical activity and dietary patterns.
Homes of 280 preschool children were visited and information obtained by direct observation and parent interview regarding physical and nutritional characteristics of the home environment. Children's physical activity, sedentary behaviour and dietary patterns were measured using standardised parent-report questionnaires. Associations were analysed using analysis of variance and correlation.
Parental physical activity (p = 0.03–0.008), size of backyard (p = 0.001) and amount of outdoor play equipment (p = 0.003) were associated with more outdoor play. Fewer rules about television viewing (p < 0.001) and presence of playstation (p = 0.02) were associated with more indoor sedentary time. Higher fruit and vegetable intake was associated with restricting children's access to fruit juice (p = 0.02) and restricting high fat/sugar snacks (p = 0.009). Lower intake of non-core foods was associated with restricting children's access to fruit juice (p = 0.007), cordial/carbonated drinks (p < 0.001) and high fat/sugar snacks (p = 0.003). Lower fruit and vegetable intake was associated with reminding child to 'eat up' (p = 0.007) and offering food rewards to eat main meal (p = 0.04). Higher intake of non-core foods was associated with giving food 'treats' (p = 0.03) and offering food rewards to eat main meal (p = 0.04). The availability of food groups in the home was associated with children's intake of these foods (fruit and vegetables, p < 0.001; fat in dairy, p = <0.001; sweetened beverages, p = 0.004–<0.001; non-core foods, p = 0.01–<0.001).
Physical attributes of the home environment and parental behaviours are associated with preschool children's physical activity, sedentary behaviour and dietary patterns. Many of these variables are modifiable and could be targeted in childhood obesity prevention and management.
The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental food, nutrition education, and referrals to available health and welfare services. Recipients are income-eligible pregnant and postpartum women, their infants, and their children who are younger than 5 years of age. Although studies have documented the nutritional benefits of the program, the extent to which WIC nutritionists help eligible women to obtain available health and welfare services, and the degree to which this referral activity promotes health, is largely unknown. The researchers examined the referral activity at one urban WIC clinic, but did not evaluate the outcomes. Of 1,850 persons seen, there were 762 referrals by WIC nutritionists for 597 persons at the Lawrence, MA, clinic during a 2-month period. Of the 597 persons, 494 (83 percent) were WIC participants and 103 (17 percent) were nonparticipants. The rate of referrals for WIC participants was 27 percent. Multiple referrals were common, with 127 people receiving more than one referral. WIC nutritionists at this site offered a variety of referrals to their clients. The majority of referrals (61.7 percent) were for supplemented food. Nonnutrition-related referrals were to medical and dental services (20.5 percent), developmental and educational services (12.5 percent), and social services (5.4 percent). Nonnutrition-related referrals for women included referrals for family planning, substance abuse, job training, teenaged parenting, and high school equivalency programs. Infants and children were referred for dental care, growth failure, the Head Start Program, kindergarten enrollment, early intervention, and protective services.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
The United States' Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) distributes about half the infant formula used in the United States at no cost to the families. This is a matter of concern because it is known that feeding with infant formula results in worse health outcomes for infants than breastfeeding.
The evidence that is available indicates that the WIC program has the effect of promoting the use of infant formula, thus placing infants at higher risk. Moreover, the program violates the widely accepted principles that have been set out in the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and in the human right to adequate food.
There is no good reason for an agency of government to distribute large quantities of free infant formula. It is recommended that the large-scale distribution of free infant formula by the WIC program should be phased out.
To determine the effect of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on birth outcomes.
The Child Development Supplement (CDS) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). The PSID provides extensive data on the income and well-being of a representative sample of U.S. families from 1968 to present. The CDS collects information on the children in PSID families ranging from cognitive, behavioral, and health status to their family and neighborhood environment. The first two waves of the CDS were conducted in 1997 and 2002, respectively. We use information on 3,181 children and their mothers.
We use propensity score matching with multiple imputations to examine whether WIC program influences birth outcomes: birth weight, prematurity, maternal report of the infant's health, small for gestational age, and placement in the neonatal intensive care unit. Furthermore, we use a fixed-effects model to examine the above outcomes controlling for mother-specific unobservables.
After using propensity scores to adjust for confounding factors, WIC shows no statistically significant effects for any of six outcomes. Fixed-effects models, however, reveal some effects that are statistically significant and fairly substantial in size. These involve preterm birth and birth weight.
Overall, the WIC program had moderate effects, but findings were sensitive to the estimation method used.
WIC; birth outcomes; propensity score; multiple imputations; fixed-effects model
OBJECTIVES: To assess the prevalence of dental caries in a large group of preschool children, to determine the extent to which the children received dental treatment, to examine the association between demographic and socioeconomic factors and the prevalence of caries, and to compare these findings with those from previous studies of preschool populations in the United States. METHODS: Dental caries exams were performed on 5171 children ages 5 months through 4 years, and a parent or other caregiver was asked to complete a questionnaire giving information about the child and her or his household. The children were recruited from Head Start programs; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition programs; health fairs; and day care centers in a representative sample of Arizona communities with populations of more than 1000 people. RESULTS: Of the 994 one-year-old children examined, 6.4% had caries, with a mean dmft (decayed, missing [extracted due to caries], and filled teeth) score of 0.18. Nearly 20% of the 2-year-olds had caries, with a mean dmft of 0.70. Thirty-five percent of the 3-year-olds had caries, with a mean dmft of 1.35, and 49% of the 4-year-olds had caries, with a mean dmft of 2.36. Children whose caregivers fell into the lowest education category had a mean dmft score three times higher than those with caregivers in the highest education category. Children with caregivers in the lowest income category had a mean dmft score four times higher than those with caregivers in the highest category. Children younger than age 3 had little evidence of dental treatment, and most of the children with caries in each age group had no filled or extracted teeth. CONCLUSIONS: The data show that dental caries is highly prevalent in this preschool population, with little of the disease being treated. Timing of diagnostic examinations and prevention strategies for preschool children need to be reconsidered, especially for children identified as having a high risk of caries.
Public health nutrition programs are intended to serve low-income families who are at greater nutritional risk than the general population. Not all persons who are program-eligible are at equal risk, however. It would be desirable to evaluate a program's ability to enroll persons from higher risk backgrounds in the population (coverage) and, conversely, the extent to which those enrolled in this program are at higher risk (targeting). A method for the evaluation of coverage and targeting was developed using data from the Tennessee Women, Infants, and Children Special Supplemental Food Program (WIC) linked with birth certificates. The linked computer file was created by matching the name and date of birth in both record files. The birth records were the common source of information used to characterize the risk background for both the WIC and non-WIC participants. Maternal sociodemographic information on the birth records was used to define the health risk background of each child. The coverage and targeting of "at-risk" children were computed and compared for 50 counties or county-aggregates in Tennessee. Considerable variation in the coverage and targeting rates of at-risk children was observed among Tennessee counties, although the counties within each WIC administrative region tended to have similar coverage and targeting patterns. Using the existing data in linked program and vital records provides a direct evaluation of a program. Coverage and targeting evaluation can be used to detect underserved populations within small geographic areas.
Positive parental attitudes towards infant feeding are an important component in child nutritional health. Previous studies have found that participants in the Special Supplemental Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program have lower breastfeeding rates and attitudes that do not contribute towards healthy infant feeding in spite of breastfeeding and nutrition education programs targeting WIC participants. The objective of this study was to assess the frequency of exclusive breastfeeding in the early postpartum period and maternal attitudes towards breastfeeding in a population of mothers at two San Francisco hospitals and in relation to WIC participation status.
We interviewed women who had recently delivered a healthy newborn using a structured interview.
A high percentage (79.8%) of our sample was exclusively breastfeeding at 1–4 days postpartum. We did not find any significant differences in rates of formula or mixed feeding by WIC participant status. Independent risk factors for mixed or formula feeding at 1–3 days postpartum included Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicity (odds ratio [OR] 2.90, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.17–7.19). Being a college graduate was associated with a decreased risk of formula/mixed feeding (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.10–0.79). We also found that thinking breastfeeding was physically painful and uncomfortable was independently associated with not breastfeeding (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.06–1.89).
Future studies should be conducted with Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to better understand the lower rates of exclusive breastfeeding in this population and should address negative attitudes towards breastfeeding such as the idea that breastfeeding is painful or uncomfortable.
We examined recent overweight and obesity trends in a multiethnic population of low-income preschool children.
We defined overweight as sex-specific body mass index (BMI)-for-age ≥85th and <95th percentile and obesity as sex-specific BMI-for-age ≥95th percentile, and calculated them using demographic data and randomly selected height and weight measurements that were recorded while 2- to <5-year-old children were enrolled in the New York State (NYS) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) during 2002–2007.
Obesity prevalence peaked at 16.7% in 2003, declined from 2003 through 2005, and stabilized at 14.7% through 2007. Among both boys and girls, the downward trend in annual prevalence of obesity was evident only among Hispanic children (22.8% boys and 20.9% girls in 2002 vs. 19.3% boys and 17.5% girls in 2007) and non-Hispanic black children (15.6% boys and 14.2% girls in 2002 vs. 13.6% boys and 12.4% girls in 2007). In contrast, the annual prevalence estimate for overweight showed an increasing trend from 2002 through 2007.
These results showed a slight decline in prevalence of childhood obesity and a continuing rise in prevalence of childhood overweight among children enrolled in the NYS WIC program during 2002–2007. Future research should investigate the extent to which the slight decline in childhood obesity prevalence may be attributable to population-based and high-risk obesity prevention efforts in NYS.
The contribution of family circumstance to physical activity and television viewing has not been widely investigated in pre-adolescents, and available information is inconsistent. This study examines whether television viewing and objectively measured physical activity vary by different indicators of family circumstance.
Data from the 2001 Children's Leisure Activity Study and the 2002/3 Health, Eating and Play Study, involving Australian children in Grades Prep (mean age 6y) and 5–6 (mean age 11y), were combined. Children wore accelerometers for six consecutive 24 hour periods. Average min/day in low-intensity activity (1.0–1.9 METs) and moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity (≥3 METs) were calculated. Parents reported children's television viewing and family circumstance. Linear regression analyses were conducted separately for young girls, young boys, older girls and older boys.
Complete data were available for 2458 children. Parental education and, to a lesser extent, employment level were inversely associated with television viewing. Children in single-parent families, those whose fathers were not in paid employment, and those without siblings tended to spend more time in low-intensity activity than their peers. Children with siblings spent more time in moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity; associations were stronger for girls. Maternal education was positively associated with moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity for younger children. Maternal employment was positively associated with moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity for older children. Multivariable models did not demonstrate a cumulative explanatory effect.
Individual measures of family circumstance were differentially associated with television, low-intensity activity and moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity and associations were often not consistent across age-by-gender groups. Interventions may need to be tailored accordingly.
This paper discusses the findings of a study conducted in south central Los Angeles in August 1992 among women in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children. The goals of the study were to determine the current demographics of WIC participants; examine the financial hardship, need for relief services, and extent of hunger resulting from the civil unrest of April 1992; look at the effects of the unrest on different ethnic groups; determine the unmet need for WIC services; and evaluate the State and local WIC responses to the unrest. The 1,189 respondents were approximately 77 percent Latina, 20 percent African American, and 3 percent white. Half or more were recent immigrants, 19 percent were pregnant and parenting adolescents, 74 percent were school dropouts, and 56 percent were single mothers. Only 1 percent had any problems using WIC vouchers after the unrest, although more than half of their grocery stores had closed. Thirty-five percent experienced food deficits in their households, and 33 percent of those who applied for emergency food stamps had trouble getting them. Four percent said their children had gone to bed hungry in the last week, and 9 percent said they, the respondents, had as well. Only 2 percent needed shelter, and 1 percent became homeless, but 6 percent had family members who lost jobs due to the unrest. This study suggests that the chronically substandard conditions under which many families in south central Los Angeles live affect them more profoundly than did the dramatic consequences of the civil unrest.
A parent-administered program to reduce television viewing of primary school-aged children was tested on two boys and three girls from three different families who were heavy viewers of television. Children were given 20 unearned tokens each week by their parents, which they could exchange for up to 10 hours of viewing time. The child earned a gold token for viewing in accordance with the rules for 4 consecutive weeks, which was exchanged for a reward. Parents were given instructions to follow the program independently. Data on hours of television viewing, homework, and reading were recorded each day by one or both parents. A multiple-baseline analysis of the effects of the TV reduction program indicated that children reduced their baseline television viewing by more than half once the program was implemented, and continued to maintain these changes 6 months and 1 year after the program was discontinued. Reading time increased for all children whereas effects on homework varied across children. The results support the effectiveness of a parent-administered program for nonbehavior problem children who watch excessive amounts of television.
television; homework; reading; parents; children
To minimize exposure to neurotoxins such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and pesticide residues, the New York State Department of Health issues health advisories about consumption of certain fish and shellfish caught from polluted local waters. Fetal exposure causes cognitive developmental deficits in children. Consumption of fish was assessed. We surveyed 220 WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) participants. Of the participants, 10% ate fish and shellfish caught in local polluted waters. Statistically significant factors associated with eating local, noncommercial fish included male gender and knowledge of the health advisory. Locally caught fish and crabs are consumed; thus, in utero and childhood exposure to these neurotoxins occurs. Interventions to promote safer choices of fish are needed.
Contaminants; Dioxin; Health advisory; Neurotoxins; Noncommercial; Polychlorinated biphenyls
Women's access to prenatal nutrition services was explored using a nationally representative sample of pregnant participants in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in 1984. The probability was examined of the participant entering the program during her first trimester, rather than the second or third trimester. Other research has suggested that length of participation in the program during pregnancy is associated with increased birth weight. The data were adjusted for various personal and local operational factors, such as prior WIC participation, race, age, income, household size, WIC priority level, availability of prenatal or other health services, targeted outreach policies, years of local operation, and local agency size. Previous participation in the WIC Program was the only factor significantly associated with early enrollment (adjusted odds ratio 2.1). Race was marginally significant. Neither the presence of local policies of outreach targeted to pregnant women, nor co-location of WIC services with prenatal or other health services, showed significant effects on early enrollment.
Early television exposure has been associated with various health outcomes including childhood obesity. This paper describes associations between patterns of television viewing, on one hand, and diet, taste preference and weight status, on the other, in European preschoolers and schoolchildren. The IDEFICS baseline survey was conducted at examination centers in Italy, Estonia, Cyprus, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, and Spain. 15,144 children aged 2–9 completed the basic protocol, including anthropometry and parental questionnaires on their diets and television habits. A subsample of 1,696 schoolchildren underwent further sensory testing for fat and sweet taste preferences. Three dichotomous indicators described: children’s habitual television exposure time; television viewing during meals; and having televisions in their bedrooms. Based on these variables we investigated television habits in relation to overweight (IOTF) and usual consumption of foods high in fat and sugar. A possible role of taste preference in the latter association was tested in the sensory subgroup. All television indicators were significantly associated with increased risk of overweight, with odds ratios ranging from 1.21 to 1.30, in fully adjusted models. Children’s propensities to consume high-fat and high-sugar foods were positively and, in most analyses, monotonically associated with high-risk television behaviors. The associations between television and diet propensities were not explained by preference for added fat or sugar in test foods. To summarize, in addition to being more overweight, children with high-risk television behaviors may, independent of objectively measured taste preferences for fat and sugar, passively overconsume higher-fat and particularly higher-sugar diets.
Television; Diet; Taste preference; Childhood overweight
Low childhood immunization rates have been a challenge in Colorado, an issue that was exacerbated by a diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine shortage that began in 2001. To combat this shortage, the locally based Tri-County Health Department conducted a study to assess immunization-related barriers among children in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a population at risk for undervaccination.
This study assessed characteristics and perceptions of WIC mothers in conjunction with their children's immunization status in four clinics.
Results indicated poor immunization rates, which improved with assessment and referral. The uninsured were at higher risk for undervaccination. DTaP was the most commonly missing vaccine, and discrepancies existed between the children's perceived and actual immunization status, particularly regarding DTaP. Targeted interventions were initiated as a result of this study.
Local health departments should target immunization-related interventions by assessing their own WIC populations to identify unique vaccine-related deficiencies, misperceptions, and high-risk subpopulations.
The relationship between early childhood television viewing and physical fitness in school age children has not been extensively studied using objective outcome measures.
Using a sample of 1314 children from the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, we examine the association between parental reports of weekly hours of television viewing, assessed at 29 and 53 months of age, and direct measures of second grade muscular fitness using performances on the standing long jump test (SLJ) and fourth grade waist circumference.
Controlling for many potentially confounding child and family variables, each hour per week of television watched at 29 months corresponded to a .361 cm decrease in SLJ, 95% CI between -.576 and -.145. A one hour increase in average weekly television exposure from 29 to 53 months was associated with a further .285 cm reduction in SLJ test performance, 95% CI between -.436 and -.134 cm and corresponded to a .047 cm increase in waistline circumference, 95% CI between .001 and .094 cm.
Watching television excessively in early childhood, may eventually compromise muscular fitness and waist circumference in children as they approach pubertal age.
Television; Televiewing; Media; Explosive leg strength; Waist circumference
We examined the associations of oral health literacy (OHL) with oral health status (OHS) and dental neglect (DN), and explored whether self-efficacy (SE) mediated or modified these associations, among a sample of female clients of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
We used interview data that were collected from 1280 female WIC clients as part of the Carolina Oral Health Literacy (COHL) Project between 2007 and 2009. OHL was measured with a validated word recognition test (REALD-30) and oral health status with the self-reported NHANES item. Analyses relied upon descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate methods.
Less than one-third of participants rated their oral health as very good or excellent. Higher OHL was associated with better oral health status (multivariate PR=1.29; 95% CL=1.08, 1.54, for 10-unit REALD increase). OHL was not correlated with DN but SE showed a strong negative correlation with DN. SE remained significantly associated with DN in a fully-adjusted model that included OHL.
Increased OHL was associated with better OHS but not DN. Self-efficacy was a strong correlate of DN and may mediate the effects of literacy on oral health status.
Child and adolescent overweight is a serious health issue. Both snacking and television watching have been associated with childhood overweight, but the relationships have not been well examined in a multiethnic population. The aim of this study was to examine relationships between weekday television viewing, snack consumption, consumption of foods advertised on television, and overweight status of a multiethnic sample of fourth- and eighth-grade schoolchildren in Texas.
This study is a secondary analysis of data from the School Physical Activity and Nutrition monitoring system, a validated survey with objective measures of height and weight. The sample of 11,594 children in the fourth and eighth grades was weighted to provide data representative of children in Texas public schools. Children were categorized on the basis of self-reported daily television viewing, snack consumption, and consumption of foods advertised on television. Multiple logistic regression was used to analyze, by grade level, the differences in the prevalence of overweight by category.
Television viewing, frequency of snack consumption, and consumption of foods advertised on television were all positively related to one another. In general, both consuming more snacks and foods advertised on television were associated with reduced odds of overweight regardless of the amount of television watched.
The results suggest that the relationships between weekday snacking behaviors and television viewing in a multiethnic population are complicated. When these behaviors are clustered, overweight status may be related more to the number of snacks consumed than to the amount of television watched. To determine the exact relationship, additional research, especially among Hispanic children, is warranted.
While parents are central to the development of behaviours in their young children, little is known about how parents view their role in shaping physical activity and screen time behaviours.
Using an unstructured focus group design, parental views and practices around children′s physical activity and screen time (television and computer use) were explored with eight groups of new parents (n=61; child age <12 months) and eight groups of parents with preschool-aged (3–5 year old) children (n=36) in Melbourne, Australia.
Parents generally believed children are naturally active, which may preclude their engagement in strategies designed to increase physical activity. While parents across both age groups shared many overarching views concerning parenting for children′s physical activity and screen time behaviours, some strategies and barriers differed depending on the age of the child. While most new parents were optimistic about their ability to positively influence their child′s behaviours, many parents of preschool-aged children seemed more resigned to strategies that worked for them, even when aware such strategies may not be ideal.
Interventions aiming to increase children′s physical activity and decrease screen time may need to tailor strategies to the age group of the child and address parents′ misconceptions and barriers to optimum parenting in these domains.
Early childhood; Parenting; Physical activity; Screen time; Qualitative study
Early childhood caries is a challenging public health problem in the United States and elsewhere; however, there is limited information concerning risk factors in very young children. The purpose of this study was to assess baseline risk factors for 18-month caries prevalence as part of a longitudinal study of high-risk children.
212 children 6–24 months of age were recruited from a rural community in Iowa. Subjects were enrolled in the WIC program, which provides nutritional support for low-income families with children. Dental examinations using d1d2-3 criteria were conducted at baseline and after 18 months. Caries prevalence was determined at the frank decay level (d2-3 or filled surfaces), as well as at the non-cavitated level (d1), and combined (d1, d2-3 or f surfaces). Risk factor data were collected at baseline and after 9- and 18- months. These data included beverage consumption data, presence of visible plaque, and use of fluoride toothpaste for children as well as mutans streptococci (MS) levels of mothers and children and family socio-demographic factors.
128 children (60%) remained in the study after 18 months. Among these children, prevalence of d-1d2-3/f level caries increased from 9% to 77%, while d2-3/f level caries increased from 2% to 20%. Logistic regression models for baseline predictors of d2-3f caries at the 18-month follow-up found presence of MS in children (OR=4.4; 95% CI: 1.4, 13.9) and sugar-sweetened beverages (OR=3.0; 95% CI: 1.1, 8.6) to be the only significant risk factors. Socio-demographic factors and use of fluoride toothpaste were not significant in these models.
Results suggest that early colonization by MS and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages are significant predictors of early childhood caries in high-risk populations.
Dental caries; primary dentition; children; risk factors; mutans streptococci
Eleven federally-funded datasets assessing breastfeeding behaviors in the US (Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Infant Feeding Practices Survey II, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, National Immunization Survey, National Survey of Children's Health, National Survey of Early Childhood Health, National Survey of Family Growth, Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Survey, and WIC Participant and Program Characteristics) were reviewed to evaluate the breastfeeding variables (initiation, duration and exclusivity) and determine if relevant breastfeeding determinants were collected to evaluate breastfeeding practices from a health disparities perspective. The datasets utilized inconsistent breastfeeding definitions, limited ethnic descriptors, and varied regarding availability of relevant determinants. Multiple datasets collect breastfeeding data, but a coordinated US breastfeeding monitoring and surveillance system does not exist. Suggestions to improve this system include: standardizing breastfeeding definitions, expanding ethnic/racial descriptors, collecting additional relevant variables, and reducing recall periods.