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1.  Obstacles to the prevention of overweight and obesity in the context of child health care in Sweden 
BMC Family Practice  2013;14:143.
Overweight and obesity in younger children could better be brought in focus through a deeper understanding of how Child Health Care nurses (CHC-nurses) perceive their work with the problems of overweight at the CHC Centers. The aim of this study was to elucidate the CHC-nurses conceptions of their preventive work with childhood overweight and obesity in Child Health Care.
A qualitative study, based on open-ended interviews, involving 18 CHC-nurses strategically selected from 17 CHC Centres in the southern part of Sweden using a phenomenographic approach.
Two categories of description emerged from the data: (i) Internal obstacles to the CHC- nurses’ work with overweight in children and (ii) External obstacles to the management of overweight in children. The CHC-nurses conceived their work with overweight in Child Health Care to be complicated and constrained by several obstacles depending on the nurses’ personal priorities, knowledge, responsibility and the absence of resources and cooperation, as well as the lack of uniform guidelines for preventing and managing childhood overweight and further a deficient management organisation.
Nurses’ attention to monitoring overweight in children, and their initiative for prevention, is based on their conceptions of the obstacles that hinder them in their efforts. An increased awareness of the CHC-nurses conceptions of the priorities, their sense of responsibility and prevention practices is warranted. If measures in this direction are not taken there is a growing risk that overweight children will pass through the CHC without any formal recognition of their situation. There is an indication that the present level of the CHC-nurses’ preventive work with childhood overweight has room for improvement in several areas. It is suggested that the specialist education of these health care professionals should be supplemented and that organisation of the management of childhood overweight should be also revised at the primary health care level.
PMCID: PMC3852529  PMID: 24079391
Child; Nurses; Obesity; Overweight; Perceptions; Preventive work; Primary care; Qualitative research
2.  Primary prevention of childhood obesity through counselling sessions at Swedish child health centres: design, methods and baseline sample characteristics of the PRIMROSE cluster-randomised trial 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:335.
Childhood obesity is a growing concern in Sweden. Children with overweight and obesity run a high risk of becoming obese as adults, and are likely to develop comorbidities. Despite the immense demand, there is still a lack of evidence-based comprehensive prevention programmes targeting pre-school children and their families in primary health care settings. The aims are to describe the design and methodology of the PRIMROSE cluster-randomised controlled trial, assess the relative validity of a food frequency questionnaire, and describe the baseline characteristics of the eligible young children and their mothers.
The PRIMROSE trial targets first-time parents and their children at Swedish child health centres (CHC) in eight counties in Sweden. Randomisation is conducted at the CHC unit level. CHC nurses employed at the participating CHC received training in carrying out the intervention alongside their provision of regular services. The intervention programme, starting when the child is 8-9 months of age and ending at age 4, is based on social cognitive theory and employs motivational interviewing. Primary outcomes are children’s body mass index and waist circumference at four years. Secondary outcomes are children’s and mothers’ eating habits (assessed by a food frequency questionnaire), and children’s and mothers’ physical activity (measured by accelerometer and a validated questionnaire), and mothers’ body mass index and waist circumference.
The on-going population-based PRIMROSE trial, which targets childhood obesity, is embedded in the regular national (routine) preventive child health services that are available free-of-charge to all young families in Sweden. Of the participants (n = 1369), 489 intervention and 550 control mothers (75.9%) responded to the validated physical activity and food frequency questionnaire at baseline (i.e., before the first intervention session, or, for children in the control group, before they reached 10 months of age). The food frequency questionnaire showed acceptable relative validity when compared with an 8-day food diary. We are not aware of any previous RCT, concerned with the primary prevention of childhood obesity through sessions at CHC that addresses healthy eating habits and physical activity in the context of a routine child health services programme.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3995501  PMID: 24717011
Childhood obesity; Primary prevention; Motivational interviewing; Primary care setting; Intervention study
3.  Barriers to successful recruitment of parents of overweight children for an obesity prevention intervention: a qualitative study among youth health care professionals 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:37.
The recruitment of participants for childhood overweight and obesity prevention interventions can be challenging. The goal of this study was to identify barriers that Dutch youth health care (YHC) professionals perceive when referring parents of overweight children to an obesity prevention intervention.
Sixteen YHC professionals (nurses, physicians and management staff) from eleven child health clinics participated in semi-structured interviews. An intervention implementation model was used as the framework for conducting, analyzing and interpreting the interviews.
All YHC professionals were concerned about childhood obesity and perceived prevention of overweight and obesity as an important task of the YHC organization. In terms of frequency and perceived impact, the most important impeding factors for referring parents of overweight children to an intervention were denial of the overweight problem by parents and their resistance towards discussing weight issues. A few YHC professionals indicated that their communication skills in discussing weight issues could be improved, and some professionals mentioned that they had low self-efficacy in raising this topic.
We consider it important that YHC professionals receive more training to increase their self-efficacy and skills in motivating parents of overweight children to participate in obesity prevention interventions. Furthermore, parental awareness towards their child’s overweight should be addressed in future studies.
PMCID: PMC3403855  PMID: 22591134
4.  Supporting parents of preschool children in adopting a healthy lifestyle 
BMC Nursing  2012;11:12.
Childhood obesity is a public health epidemic. In Canada 21.5% of children aged 2–5 are overweight, with psychological and physical consequences for the child and economic consequences for society. Parents often do not view their children as overweight. One way to prevent overweight is to adopt a healthy lifestyle (HL). Nurses with direct access to young families could assess overweight and support parents in adopting HL. But what is the best way to support them if they do not view their child as overweight? A better understanding of parents’ representation of children’s overweight might guide the development of solutions tailored to their needs.
This study uses an action research design, a participatory approach mobilizing all stakeholders around a problem to be solved. The general objective is to identify, with nurses working with families, ways to promote HL among parents of preschoolers. Specific objectives are to: 1) describe the prevalence of overweight in preschoolers at vaccination time; 2) describe the representation of overweight and HL, as reported by preschoolers’ parents; 3) explore the views of nurses working with young families regarding possible solutions that could become a clinical tool to promote HL; and 4) try to identify a direction concerning the proposed strategies that could be used by nurses working with this population. First, an epidemiological study will be conducted in vaccination clinics: 288 4–5-year-olds will be weighed and measured. Next, semi-structured interviews will be conducted with 20 parents to describe their representation of HL and their child’s weight. Based on the results from these two steps, by means of a focus group nurses will identify possible strategies to the problem. Finally, focus groups of parents, then nurses and finally experts will give their opinions of these strategies in order to find a direction for these strategies. Descriptive and correlational statistical analyses will be done on the quantitative survey data using SPSS. Qualitative data will be analyzed using Huberman and Miles’ (2003) approach. NVivo will be used for the analysis and data management.
The anticipated benefits of this rigorous approach will be to identify and develop potential intervention strategies in partnership with preschoolers’ parents and produce a clinical tool reflecting the views of parents and nurses working with preschoolers’ parents.
PMCID: PMC3489519  PMID: 22852762
Overweight; Childhood; Preschool; Parental opinion; Health promotion; Action research
5.  Overweight among Four-Year-Old Children in Relation to Early Growth Characteristics and Socioeconomic Factors 
Journal of Obesity  2010;2010:580642.
Objectives. To assess early growth characteristics and socioeconomic factors of children in relation to body mass index (BMI) and presence of overweight among four-year-old children. Methods. Two Child Health Centres (CHC) participated in the study. They were selected to obtain two populations of children featuring divergent socio-economic characteristics. Growth data registered at the CHCs from birth to the 4-year check-up were recovered. Overweight was defined by the BMI cut-offs established by IOTF. BMI values expressed as BMI standard deviation score (BMISDS) were used for analysis. Results. At the 4-year check-up, the BMISDS and the proportion of children with overweight (including the obese) were significantly higher in the district with lower socio-economic status. High BMI at birth and low socio-economic status of the population in the CHC-district were shown to be independent determinants for overweight and BMISDS at four years of age. Conclusions. More research is needed to understand the mechanisms and how intervention programs should be designed in order to prevent the development of overweight and obesity in children.
PMCID: PMC2915816  PMID: 20721298
6.  "Smoking in Children's Environment Test": a qualitative study of experiences of a new instrument applied in preventive work in child health care 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:113.
Despite knowledge of the adverse health effects of passive smoking, children are still being exposed. Children's nurses play an important role in tobacco preventive work through dialogue with parents aimed at identifying how children can be protected from environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure. The study describes the experiences of Child Health Care (CHC) nurses when using the validated instrument SiCET (Smoking in Children's Environment Test) in dialogue with parents.
In an intervention in CHC centres in south-eastern Sweden nurses were invited to use the SiCET. Eighteen nurses participated in focus group interviews. Transcripts were reviewed and their contents were coded into categories by three investigators using the method described for focus groups interviews.
The SiCET was used in dialogue with parents in tobacco preventive work and resulted in focused discussions on smoking and support for behavioural changes among parents. The instrument had both strengths and limitations. The nurses experienced that the SiCET facilitated dialogue with parents and gave a comprehensive view of the child's ETS exposure. This gave nurses the possibility of taking on a supportive role by offering parents long-term help in protecting their child from ETS exposure and in considering smoking cessation.
Our findings indicate that the SiCET supports nurses in their dialogue with parents on children's ETS exposure at CHC. There is a need for more clinical use and evaluation of the SiCET to determine its usefulness in clinical practice under varying circumstances.
PMCID: PMC3267672  PMID: 22172056
7.  A randomised controlled trial for overweight and obese parents to prevent childhood obesity - Early STOPP (STockholm Obesity Prevention Program) 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:336.
Overweight and obesity have a dramatic negative impact on children's health not only during the childhood but also throughout the adult life. Preventing the development of obesity in children is therefore a world-wide health priority. There is an obvious urge for sustainable and evidenced-based interventions that are suitable for families with young children, especially for families with overweight or obese parents. We have developed a prevention program, Early STOPP, combating multiple obesity-promoting behaviors such unbalanced diet, physical inactivity and disturbed sleeping patterns. We also aim to evaluate the effectiveness of the early childhood obesity prevention in a well-characterized population of overweight or obese parents. This protocol outlines methods for the recruitment phase of the study.
Design and methods
This randomized controlled trial (RCT) targets overweight and/or obese parents with infants, recruited from the Child Health Care Centers (CHCC) within the Stockholm area. The intervention starts when infants are one year of age and continues until they are six and is regularly delivered by a trained coach (dietitian, physiotherapist or a nurse). The key aspects of Early STOPP family intervention are based on Swedish recommendations for CHCC, which include advices on healthy food choices and eating patterns, increasing physical activity/reducing sedentary behavior and regulating sleeping patterns.
The Early STOPP trial design addresses weaknesses of previous research by recruiting from a well-characterized population, defining a feasible, theory-based intervention and assessing multiple measurements to validate and interpret the program effectiveness. The early years hold promise as a time in which obesity prevention may be most effective. To our knowledge, this longitudinal RCT is the first attempt to demonstrate whether an early, long-term, targeted health promotion program focusing on healthy eating, physical activity/reduced sedentary behaviors and normalizing sleeping patterns could be effective. If proven so, Early STOPP may protect children from the development of overweight and obesity.
Trial registration
The protocol for this study is registered with the clinical trials registry, ID: ES-2010)
PMCID: PMC3121630  PMID: 21592388
8.  Early life factors and being overweight at 4 years of age among children in Malmö, Sweden 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:764.
Rising rates of obesity and overweight is an increasing public health problem all over the world. Recent research has shown the importance of early life factors in the development of child overweight. However, to the best of our knowledge there are no studies investigating the potential synergistic effect of early life factors and presence of parental overweight on the development of child overweight.
The study was population-based and cross-sectional. The study population consisted of children who visited the Child Health Care (CHC) centers in Malmö for their 4-year health check during 2003-2008 and whose parents answered a self-administered questionnaire (n = 9009 children).
The results showed that having overweight/obese parents was strongly associated with the child being overweight or obese. Furthermore, there was an association between unfavorable early life factors (i.e., mother smoking during pregnancy, presence of secondhand tobacco smoke early in life, high birth weight) and the development of child overweight/obesity at four years of age, while breastfeeding seemed to have a protective role. For example, maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.47 (95% CI: 1.22, 1.76) for overweight and 2.31 (95% CI: 1.68, 3.17) for obesity. The results further showed synergistic effects between parental overweight and exposure to unfavourable early life factors in the development of child overweight.
The present study shows the importance of early life factors in the development of child overweight and obesity, and thus puts focus on the importance of early targeted interventions.
PMCID: PMC3022848  PMID: 21159203
9.  The Role of Care Neglect and Supervisory Neglect in Childhood Obesity in a Disadvantaged Sample 
Journal of Pediatric Psychology  2009;35(5):523-532.
Objective Assess the roles of care neglect and supervisory neglect, and the moderating influence of child age on childhood obesity. Study Design Child BMI, parental care neglect, and supervisory neglect were assessed in an ethnically diverse sample of 571 young children from two Midwestern States. Hierarchical linear regression was used to assess the influence of both forms of neglect and the moderating role of age. Results Fifteen percent of the children were overweight and 16.3% were obese. Care neglect significantly correlated with child BMI for younger but not older children, while supervisory neglect significantly correlated with child BMI for older but not younger children. Conclusions The impact of two types of neglect on obesity varied across age, highlighting the importance of differentiating between types of neglectful parenting when addressing the high rate of childhood obesity in disadvantaged children.
PMCID: PMC2910942  PMID: 19996153
age moderation; body mass index; care neglect; disadvantaged children; supervisory neglect.
10.  General practitioners' and district nurses' conceptions of the encounter with obese patients in primary health care 
BMC Family Practice  2011;12:7.
Primary health care specialists have a key role in the management of obesity. Through understanding how they conceive the encounter with patients with obesity, treatment may be improved. The aim of this study was thus to explore general practitioners' and district nurses' conceptions of encountering patients with obesity in primary health care.
Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, and analysed using a phenomenographic approach. The participants were 10 general practitioners (6 women, 4 men) and 10 district nurses (7 women, 3 men) from 19 primary health care centres within a well-defined area of Sweden.
Five descriptive categories were identified: Adequate primary health care, Promoting lifestyle change, Need for competency, Adherence to new habits and Understanding patient attitudes. All participants, independent of gender and profession, were represented in the descriptive categories. Some profession and gender differences were, however, found in the underlying conceptions. The general staff view was that obesity had to be prioritised. However, there was also the contradictory view that obesity is not a disease and therefore not the responsibility of primary health care. Despite this, staff conceived it as important that patients were met with respect and that individual solutions were provided which could be adhered to step-by-step by the patient. Patient attitudes, such as motivation to change, evasive behaviour, too much trust in care and lack of self-confidence, were, however, conceived as major barriers to a fruitful encounter.
Findings from this study indicate that there is a need for development and organisation of weight management in primary health care. Raising awareness of staff's negative views of patient attitudes is important since it is likely that it affects the patient-staff relationship and staff's treatment efforts. More research is also needed on gender and profession differences in this area.
PMCID: PMC3050702  PMID: 21333018
11.  Parent-Led Activity and Nutrition (PLAN) for Healthy Living: Design and Methods 
Contemporary Clinical Trials  2011;32(6):882-892.
Child obesity has become an important public heath concern, especially in rural areas. Primary care providers are well positioned to intervene with children and their parents, but encounter many barriers to addressing child overweight and obesity. This paper describes the design and methods of a cluster- randomized controlled trial to evaluate a parent-mediated approach utilizing physician’s brief motivational interviewing and parent group sessions to treat child (ages 5–11 years) overweight and obesity in the primary care setting in Southern Appalachia. Specific aims of this pilot project will be 1) to establish a primary care based and parent-mediated childhood overweight intervention program in the primary care setting, 2) to explore the efficacy of this intervention in promoting healthier weight status and health behaviors of children, 3) to examine the acceptability and feasibility of the approach among parents and primary care providers. If proven to be effective, this approach may be an exportable model to other primary care practices.
PMCID: PMC3335199  PMID: 21777701
child; obesity; primary care; rural; treatment
12.  Parents’ experiences of participating in an intervention on tobacco prevention in Child Health Care 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:69.
Child health care is an important arena for tobacco prevention in Sweden. The aim of this study was to describe parents’ experiences from participating in a nursebased tobacco prevention intervention.
Eleven parents were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. The material was analysed in a qualitative content analysis process.
The analysis emerged four categories; Receiving support, Respectful treatment, Influence on smoking habits and Receiving information. The parents described how the CHC nurses treated them with support and respect. They described the importance of being treated with respect for their autonomy in their decisions about smoking. They also claimed that they had received little or no information about health consequences for children exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The findings also indicate that both the questionnaire used and the urine-cotinine test had influenced parents’ smoking.
The clinical implication is that CHC is an important arena for preventive work aiming to minimize children’s tobacco smoke exposure. CHC nurses can play an important role in tobacco prevention but should be more explicit in their communication with parents about tobacco issues. The SiCET was referred to as an eye-opener and can be useful in the MI dialogues nurses perform in order to support parents in their efforts to protect their children from ETS.
PMCID: PMC3975308  PMID: 24612749
13.  Ethnic differences and parental beliefs are important for overweight prevention and management in children: a cross-sectional study in the Netherlands 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:867.
The prevalence of obesity and overweight is highest among ethnic minority groups in Western countries. The objective of this study is to examine the contribution of ethnicity and beliefs of parents about overweight preventive behaviours to their child’s outdoor play and snack intake, and to the parents’ intention to monitor these behaviours.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among parents of native Dutch children and children from a large minority population (Turks) at primary schools, sampled from Youth Health Care registers.
Native Dutch parents observed more outdoor play and lower snack intake in their child and had stronger intentions to monitor these behaviours than parents of Turkish descent. In the multivariate analyses, the parents’ attitude and social norm were the main contributing factors to the parental intention to monitor the child’s outdoor play and snack intake. Parental perceived behavioural control contributed to the child’s outdoor play and, in parents who perceived their child to be overweight, to snacking behaviour. The associations between parents’ behavioural cognitions and overweight related preventive behaviours were not modified by ethnicity, except for perceived social norm. The relationship between social norm and intention to monitor outdoor play was stronger in Dutch parents than in Turkish parents.
As the overweight related preventive behaviours of both children and parents did differ between the native and ethnic minority populations of this study, it is advised that interventions pay attention to cultural aspects of the targeted population. Further research is recommended into parental behavioural cognitions regarding overweight prevention and management for different ethnicities.
PMCID: PMC3508795  PMID: 23057582
Child obesity; Overweight; Culture; Health promotion
14.  Nutrition and physical activity randomized control trial in child care centers improves knowledge, policies, and children’s body mass index 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:215.
To address the public health crisis of overweight and obese preschool-age children, the Nutrition And Physical Activity Self Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) intervention was delivered by nurse child care health consultants with the objective of improving child care provider and parent nutrition and physical activity knowledge, center-level nutrition and physical activity policies and practices, and children’s body mass index (BMI).
A seven-month randomized control trial was conducted in 17 licensed child care centers serving predominantly low income families in California, Connecticut, and North Carolina, including 137 child care providers and 552 families with racially and ethnically diverse children three to five years old. The NAP SACC intervention included educational workshops for child care providers and parents on nutrition and physical activity and consultation visits provided by trained nurse child care health consultants. Demographic characteristics and pre - and post-workshop knowledge surveys were completed by providers and parents. Blinded research assistants reviewed each center’s written health and safety policies, observed nutrition and physical activity practices, and measured randomly selected children’s nutritional intake, physical activity, and height and weight pre- and post-intervention.
Hierarchical linear models and multiple regression models assessed individual- and center-level changes in knowledge, policies, practices and age- and sex-specific standardized body mass index (zBMI), controlling for state, parent education, and poverty level. Results showed significant increases in providers’ and parents’ knowledge of nutrition and physical activity, center-level improvements in policies, and child-level changes in children’s zBMI based on 209 children in the intervention and control centers at both pre- and post-intervention time points.
The NAP SACC intervention, as delivered by trained child health professionals such as child care health consultants, increases provider knowledge, improves center policies, and lowers BMI for children in child care centers. More health professionals specifically trained in a nutrition and physical activity intervention in child care are needed to help reverse the obesity epidemic.
Trial registration
National Clinical Trials Number NCT01921842
PMCID: PMC3945995  PMID: 24580983
Child care; Nutrition; Physical activity; Body mass index; Child care health consultants; Obesity; Overweight
15.  Ethnicity, educational level and attitudes contribute to parental intentions about genetic testing for child obesity 
Journal of Community Genetics  2013;4(2):243-250.
The objective of this paper is to assess parental beliefs and intentions about genetic testing for their children in a multi-ethnic population with the aim of acquiring information to guide interventions for obesity prevention and management. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in parents of native Dutch children and children from a large minority population (Turks) selected from Youth Health Care registries. The age range of the children was 5–11 years. Parents with lower levels of education and parents of non-native children were more convinced that overweight has a genetic cause and their intentions to test the genetic predisposition of their child to overweight were firmer. A firmer intention to test the child was associated with the parents’ perceptions of their child’s susceptibility to being overweight, a positive attitude towards genetic testing, and anticipated regret at not having the child tested while at risk for overweight. Interaction effects were found in ethnic and socio-economic groups. Ethnicity and educational level play a role in parental beliefs about child overweight and genetic testing. Education programmes about obesity risk, genetic testing and the importance of behaviour change should be tailored to the cultural and behavioural factors relevant to ethnic and socio-economic target groups.
PMCID: PMC3666838  PMID: 23389423
Genetics; Attitude; Health promotion; Obesity; Child
16.  Reduction in BMI z-score and improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors in obese children and adolescents. The Oslo Adiposity Intervention Study - a hospital/public health nurse combined treatment  
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:47.
Weight loss and increased physical fitness are established approaches to reduce cardiovascular risk factors. We studied the reduction in BMI z-score associated with improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight and obese children and adolescents treated with a combined hospital/public health nurse model. We also examined how aerobic fitness influenced the results.
From 2004-2007, 307 overweight and obese children and adolescents aged 7-17 years were referred to an outpatient hospital pediatrics clinic and evaluated by a multidisciplinary team. Together with family members, they were counseled regarding diet and physical activity at biannual clinic visits. Visits with the public health nurse at local schools or at maternal and child health centres were scheduled between the hospital consultations. Fasting blood samples were taken at baseline and after one year, and aerobic fitness (VO2peak) was measured. In the analyses, 230 subjects completing one year of follow-up by December 2008 were divided into four groups according to changes in BMI z-score: Group 1: decrease in BMI z-score≥0.23, Group 2: decrease in BMI z-score≥0.1-< 0.23, Group 3: decrease in/stable BMI z-score≥0.0-< 0.1, Group 4: increase in BMI z-score (>0.00-0.55).
230 participants were included in the analyses (75%). Mean (SD) BMI z-score was reduced from 2.18 (0.30) to 2.05 (0.39) (p < 0.001) in the group as a whole. After adjustment for BMI z-score, waist circumference and gender, the three groups with reduced BMI z-score had a significantly greater reduction in HOMA-IR, insulin, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and total/HDL cholesterol ratio than the group with increased BMI z-score. Adding change in aerobic fitness to the model had little influence on the results. Even a very small reduction in BMI z-score (group 3) was associated with significantly lower insulin, total cholesterol, LDL and total/HDL cholesterol ratio. The group with the largest reduction in BMI z-score had improvements in HOMA-IR and aerobic fitness as well. An increase in BMI z-score was associated with worsening of C-peptide and total/HDL cholesterol ratio.
Even a modest reduction in BMI z-score after one year of combined hospital/and public health nurse intervention was associated with improvement in several cardiovascular risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3121603  PMID: 21619652
17.  Assessment of selection bias in a health survey of children and families – the IDEFICS Sweden-study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:418.
A health survey was performed in 2007–2008 in the IDEFICS/Sweden study (Identification and prevention of dietary- and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants) in children aged 2–9 years. We hypothesized that families with disadvantageous socioeconomic and -demographic backgrounds and children with overweight and obesity were underrepresented.
In a cross-sectional study, we compared Swedish IDEFICS participants (N=1,825) with referent children (N=1,825) using data from Statistics Sweden population registers. IDEFICS participants were matched for age and gender with a referent child living in the same municipality. Longitudinal weight and height data from birth to 8 years was collected for both populations (n=3,650) from the children’s local health services. Outcome measures included the family’s socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, maternal body mass index (BMI) and smoking habits before pregnancy, the children’s BMI standard deviation score (SDS) at the age of inclusion in the IDEFICS study (BMISDS-index), and the children’s BMI-categories during the age-span. Comparisons between groups were done and a multiple logistic regression analysis for the study of determinants of participation in the IDEFICS study was performed.
Compared with IDEFICS participants, referent families were more likely to have lower education and income, foreign backgrounds, be single parents, and have mothers who smoked before pregnancy. Maternal BMI before pregnancy and child’s BMISDS-index did not differ between groups. Comparing the longitudinal data-set, the prevalence of obesity was significantly different at age 8 years n= 45 (4.5%) versus n= 31 (2.9%) in the referent and IDEFICS populations, respectively. In the multivariable adjusted model, the strongest significant association with IDEFICS study participation was parental Swedish background (odds ratio (OR) = 1.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.48–2.47) followed by parents having high education OR 1.80, 95% CI (1.02-3.16) and being married or co-habiting OR 1.75 95% CI (1.38-2.23).
Families with single parenthood, foreign background, low education and income were underrepresented in the IDEFICS Sweden study. BMI at inclusion had no selection effect, but developing obesity was significantly greater among referents.
PMCID: PMC3662638  PMID: 23634972
Selection bias; Children; Obesity; Health survey; Registers
18.  Prevention of Overweight in Infancy ( study: a randomised controlled trial of sleep, food and activity interventions for preventing overweight from birth 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:942.
Rapid weight gain during the first three years of life predicts child and adult obesity, and also later cardiovascular and other morbidities. Cross-sectional studies suggest that infant diet, activity and sleep are linked to excessive weight gain. As intervention for overweight children is difficult, the aim of the Prevention of Overweight in Infancy ( study is to evaluate two primary prevention strategies during late pregnancy and early childhood that could be delivered separately or together as part of normal health care.
This four-arm randomised controlled trial is being conducted with 800 families recruited at booking in the only maternity unit in the city of Dunedin, New Zealand. Mothers are randomised during pregnancy to either a usual care group (7 core contacts with a provider of government funded "Well Child" care over 2 years) or to one of three intervention groups given education and support in addition to "Well Child" care: the Food, Activity and Breastfeeding group which receives 8 extra parent contacts over the first 2 years of life; the Sleep group which receives at least 3 extra parent contacts over the first 6 months of life with a focus on prevention of sleep problems and then active intervention if there is a sleep problem from 6 months to 2 years; or the Combination group which receives all extra contacts. The main outcome measures are conditional weight velocity (0-6, 6-12, 12-24 months) and body mass index z-score at 24 months, with secondary outcomes including sleep and physical activity (parent report, accelerometry), duration of breastfeeding, timing of introduction of solids, diet quality, and measures of family function and wellbeing (parental depression, child mindedness, discipline practices, family quality of life and health care use). This study will contribute to a prospective meta-analysis of early life obesity prevention studies in Australasia.
Infancy is likely to be the most effective time to establish patterns of behaviour around food, activity and sleep that promote healthy child and adult weight. The study will determine the extent to which sleep, food and activity interventions in infancy prevent the development of overweight.
Trial Registration
Clinical Trials NCT00892983
Prospective meta-analysis registered on PROSPERO CRD420111188. Available from
PMCID: PMC3293097  PMID: 22182309
19.  Childhood Overweight/Obesity and Pediatric Asthma: The Role of Parental Perception of Child Weight Status 
Nutrients  2013;5(9):3713-3729.
Childhood obesity and asthma are on the rise in the U.S. Clinical and epidemiological data suggest a link between the two, in which overweight and obese children are at higher risk for asthma. Prevention of childhood obesity is preferred over treatment, however, in order to be receptive to messages, parents must perceive that their child is overweight. Many parents do not accurately assess their child’s weight status. Herein, the relation between parental perceptions of child weight status, observed body mass index (BMI) percentiles, and a measure of child feeding practices were explored in the context of asthma, food allergy, or both. Out of the children with asthma or food allergy that were classified as overweight/obese by BMI percentiles, 93% were not perceived as overweight/obese by the parent. Mean scores for concern about child weight were higher in children with both asthma and food allergy than either condition alone, yet there were no significant differences among the groups in terms of pressure to eat and restrictive feeding practices. In summary, parents of children with asthma or food allergy were less likely to recognize their child’s overweight/obese status and their feeding practices did not differ from those without asthma and food allergy.
PMCID: PMC3798930  PMID: 24064571
childhood obesity; pediatric asthma; food allergy; parental perception
20.  The Role of State Health Departments in Supporting Community-based Obesity Prevention 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2011;8(4):A87.
Recent national attention to obesity prevention has highlighted the importance of community-based initiatives. State health departments are in a unique position to offer resources and support for local obesity prevention efforts.
Community Context
In North Carolina, one-third of children are overweight or obese. North Carolina's Division of Public Health supports community-based obesity prevention by awarding annual grants to local health departments, providing ongoing training and technical assistance, and engaging state-level partners and resources to support local efforts.
The North Carolina Division of Public Health administered grants to 5 counties to implement the Childhood Obesity Prevention Demonstration Project; counties simultaneously carried out interventions in the community, health care organizations, worksites, schools, child care centers, and faith communities.
The North Carolina Division of Public Health worked with 5 local health departments to implement community-wide policy and environmental changes that support healthful eating and physical activity. The state health department supported this effort by working with state partners to provide technical assistance, additional funding, and evaluation.
State health departments are well positioned to coordinate technical assistance and leverage additional support to increase the strength of community-based obesity prevention efforts.
PMCID: PMC3136974  PMID: 21672411
21.  How community-dwelling seniors with multimorbidity conceive the concept of mental health and factors that may influence it: A phenomenographic study 
Multimorbidity, that is, the coexistence of chronic diseases, is associated with mental health issues among elderly people. In Sweden, seniors with multimorbidity often live at home and receive care from nursing aides and district nurses. The aim of this study was to describe the variation in how community-dwelling seniors with multimorbidity perceive the concept of mental health and what may influence it. Thirteen semi-structured interviews were analysed using a phenomenographic approach. Six qualitatively different ways of understanding the concept of mental health and factors that may influence it, reflecting key variations of meaning, were identified. The discerned categories were: mental health is dependent on desirable feelings and social contacts, mental health is dependent on undesirable feelings and social isolation, mental health is dependent on power of the mind and ability to control thoughts, mental health is dependent on powerlessness of the mind and inability to control thoughts, mental health is dependent on active behaviour and a healthy lifestyle, and mental health is dependent on passive behaviour and physical inactivity. According to the respondents’ view, the concept of mental health can be defined as how an individual feels, thinks, and acts and also includes a positive as well as a negative aspect. Social contacts, physical activity, and optimism may improve mental health while social isolation, ageing, and chronic pain may worsen it. Findings highlight the importance of individually definitions of mental health and that community-dwelling seniors with multimorbidity may describe how multiple chronic conditions can affect their life situation. It is essential to organize the health care system to provide individual health promotion dialogues, and future research should address the prerequisites for conducting mental health promotion dialogues.
PMCID: PMC3522873  PMID: 23237629
Aged; care of older people; mental health promotion; municipal care; nursing; phenomenography; primary health care
22.  'Be active, eat right', evaluation of an overweight prevention protocol among 5-year-old children: design of a cluster randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:177.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity in children has at least doubled in the past 25 years with a major impact on health. In 2005 a prevention protocol was developed applicable within Youth Health Care. This study aims to assess the effects of this protocol on prevalence of overweight and health behaviour among children.
Methods and design
A cluster randomised controlled trial is conducted among 5-year-old children included by 44 Youth Health Care teams randomised within 9 Municipal Health Services. The teams are randomly allocated to the intervention or control group. The teams measure the weight and height of all children. When a child in the intervention group is detected with overweight according to the international age and gender specific cut-off points of BMI, the prevention protocol is applied. According to this protocol parents of overweight children are invited for up to three counselling sessions during which they receive personal advice about a healthy lifestyle, and are motivated for and assisted in behavioural change.
The primary outcome measures are Body Mass Index and waist circumference of the children. Parents will complete questionnaires to assess secondary outcome measures: levels of overweight inducing/reducing behaviours (i.e. being physically active, having breakfast, drinking sweet beverages and watching television/playing computer games), parenting styles, parenting practices, and attitudes of parents regarding these behaviours, health-related quality of life of the children, and possible negative side effects of the prevention protocol. Data will be collected at baseline (when the children are aged 5 years), and after 12 and 24 months of follow-up. Additionally, a process and a cost-effectiveness evaluation will be conducted.
In this study called 'Be active, eat right' we evaluate an overweight prevention protocol for use in the setting of Youth Health Care. It is hypothesized that the use of this protocol will result in a healthier lifestyle of the children and an improved BMI and waist circumference.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN04965410
PMCID: PMC2701937  PMID: 19505297
23.  The relationship between family and child weight status by household structure in South Korea: 2007–2010 
Nutrition & Diabetes  2013;3(6):e73-.
Parental obesity has been identified as a predominant risk factor for childhood overweight and obesity. We investigated the relationship between parent and child obesity in South Korea, particularly linked with varying family structures.
Subjects and methods:
Data for households with children aged 2–18 years were taken from the pooled data of the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) 2007–2010 conducted by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). The sample consisted of 17 453 individuals (7879 children and 9574 adults) from 5048 households with children for this study. Children's overweight and obesity prevalence was compared using both International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) and KCDC cutoff points according to parental weight status and household structure. Logistic regression analysis was used.
Significantly greater odds of overweight and obesity existed among children living with both parents (odds ratio (OR)=3.5, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.71, 4.65) or one parent (mother: OR=1.6, 95% CI: 1.22, 2.12; father: OR=1.7, 95% CI: 1.37, 1.99). The adjusted ORs for overweight and obesity among children living with overweight mother only or overweight grandparent only were approximately double that of children living with normal-weight mother (OR=2.2, 95% CI: 1.22–3.82) or normal-weight grandparent (OR=2.1, 95% CI: 1.06–4.05).
Children living with overweight parent(s) or grandparent(s) were positively correlated with the risk for childhood overweight and obesity. Socioeconomic status did not affect the observed relationships in this population, whereas the role of genetic, dietary and activity patterns requires further exploration.
PMCID: PMC3697404  PMID: 23752132
children; obesity; overweight; parent; grandparent; family structure
24.  How to minimize children’s environmental tobacco smoke exposure: an intervention in a clinical setting in high risk areas 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:76.
Despite the low prevalence of daily smokers in Sweden, children are still being exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), primarily by their smoking parents. A prospective intervention study using methods from Quality Improvement was performed in Child Health Care (CHC). The aim was to provide nurses with new methods for motivating and supporting parents in their efforts to protect children from ETS exposure.
Collaborative learning was used to implement and test an intervention bundle. Twenty-two CHC nurses recruited 86 families with small children which had at least one smoking parent. Using a bundle of interventions, nurses met and had dialogues with the parents over a one-year period. A detailed questionnaire on cigarette consumption and smoking policies in the home was answered by the parents at the beginning and at the end of the intervention, when children also took urine tests to determine cotinine levels.
Seventy-two families completed the study. Ten parents (11%) quit smoking. Thirty-two families (44%) decreased their cigarette consumption. Forty-five families (63%) were outdoor smokers at follow up. The proportion of children with urinary cotinine values of >6 ng/ml had decreased.
The intensified tobacco prevention in CHC improved smoking parents’ ability to protect their children from ETS exposure.
PMCID: PMC3660282  PMID: 23672646
Children; Child Health Care; Tobacco smoke prevention; Passive smoking
25.  Population-Based Childhood Overweight Prevention: Outcomes of the ‘Be Active, Eat Right’ Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e65376.
An overweight prevention protocol was used in the ‘Be active, eat right’ study; parents of overweight children (5 years) were offered healthy lifestyle counseling by youth health care professionals. Effects of the protocol on child BMI and waist circumference at age 7 years were evaluated.
A cluster RCT was conducted among nine youth health care centers in the Netherlands. Parents of overweight, not obese, children received lifestyle counseling and motivational interviewing according to the overweight prevention protocol in the intervention condition (n = 349) and usual care in the control condition (n = 288). Measurements were made of child height, weight and waist circumference at baseline and at a two-year follow-up; parents completed questionnaires regarding demographic characteristics. Linear mixed models were applied; interaction terms were explored.
The analyzed population consisted of 38.1% boys; mean age 5.7 [sd: 0.4] years; mean BMI 18.1 [sd: 0.6], the median number of counseling sessions in the intervention condition was 2. The regression model showed no significant difference in BMI increase between the research conditions at follow-up (beta −0.16; 95% CI:−0.60 to 0.27; p = 0.463). There was a significant interaction between baseline BMI and research condition; children with a baseline BMI of 17.25 and 17.50 had a smaller increase in BMI at follow-up when allocated to the intervention condition compared to control condition (estimated adjusted mean difference −0.67 [se: 0.30] and −0.52 [se: 0.36]).
Mildly overweight children (baseline BMI 17.25 and 17.50) in the intervention condition showed a significantly smaller increase in BMI at follow-up compared to the control condition; there was no overall difference between intervention and control condition. Future research may explore and evaluate improvements of the prevention protocol.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN04965410
PMCID: PMC3669240  PMID: 23741491

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