Because parental recognition of overweight in young children is poor, we need to determine how best to inform parents that their child is overweight in a way that enhances their acceptance and supports motivation for positive change. This study will assess 1) whether weight feedback delivered using motivational interviewing increases parental acceptance of their child's weight status and enhances motivation for behaviour change, and 2) whether a family-based individualised lifestyle intervention, delivered primarily by a MInT mentor with limited support from "expert" consultants in psychology, nutrition and physical activity, can improve weight outcomes after 12 and 24 months in young overweight children, compared with usual care.
1500 children aged 4-8 years will be screened for overweight (height, weight, waist, blood pressure, body composition). Parents will complete questionnaires on feeding practices, physical activity, diet, parenting, motivation for healthy lifestyles, and demographics. Parents of children classified as overweight (BMI ≥ CDC 85th) will receive feedback about the results using Motivational interviewing or Usual care. Parental responses to feedback will be assessed two weeks later and participants will be invited into the intervention. Additional baseline measurements (accelerometry, diet, quality of life, child behaviour) will be collected and families will be randomised to Tailored package or Usual care. Parents in the Usual care condition will meet once with an advisor who will offer general advice regarding healthy eating and activity. Parents in the Tailored package condition will attend a single session with an "expert team" (MInT mentor, dietitian, physical activity advisor, clinical psychologist) to identify current challenges for the family, develop tailored goals for change, and plan behavioural strategies that best suit each family. The mentor will continue to provide support to the family via telephone and in-person consultations, decreasing in frequency over the two-year intervention. Outcome measures will be obtained at baseline, 12 and 24 months.
This trial offers a unique opportunity to identify effective ways of providing feedback to parents about their child's weight status and to assess the efficacy of a supportive, individualised early intervention to improve weight outcomes in young children.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609000749202
Prevention of childhood obesity is a public health priority. Parents influence a child’s weight by modeling healthy behaviors, controlling food availability and activity opportunities, and appropriate feeding practices. Thus interventions should target education and behavioral change in the parent, and positive, mutually reinforcing behaviors within the family.
This paper presents the design, rationale and baseline characteristics of Kids and Adults Now! – Defeat Obesity (KAN-DO), a randomized controlled behavioral intervention trial targeting weight maintenance in children of healthy weight, and weight reduction in overweight children. 400 children aged 2–5 and their overweight or obese mothers in the Triangle and Triad regions of North Carolina are randomized equally to control or the KAN-DO intervention, consisting of mailed family kits encouraging healthy lifestyle change. Eight (monthly) kits are supported by motivational counseling calls and a single group session. Mothers are targeted during a hypothesized “teachable moment” for health behavior change (the birth of a new baby), and intervention content addresses: parenting skills (emotional regulation, authoritative parenting), healthy eating, and physical activity.
The 400 mother-child dyads randomized to trial are 75% white and 22% black; 19% have a household income of $30,000 or below. At baseline, 15% of children are overweight (85th–95th percentile for body mass index) and 9% are obese (≥95th percentile).
This intervention addresses childhood obesity prevention by using a family-based, synergistic approach, targeting at-risk children and their mothers during key transitional periods, and enhancing maternal self-regulation and responsive parenting as a foundation for health behavior change.
Overweight; obesity; randomized controlled trial; parenting; children; postpartum period
To investigate parents’ perceptions of weight status in children and to explore parental understanding of and attitudes to childhood overweight.
Questionnaires and focus groups within a longitudinal study.
536 parents of Gateshead Millennium Study children, of which 27 attended 6 focus groups.
Main outcome measures
Parents’ perception of their child’s weight status according to actual weight status as defined by International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) cut-offs. Focus group outcomes included parental awareness of childhood overweight nationally and parental approaches to identifying overweight children.
The sensitivity of parents recognising if their child was overweight was 0.31. Prevalence of child overweight was underestimated: 7.3% of children were perceived as ‘overweight’ or ‘very overweight’ by their parents, 23.7% were identified as overweight or obese using IOTF criteria. 69.3% of parents of overweight or obese children identified their child as being of ‘normal’ weight. During focus groups parents demonstrated an awareness of childhood overweight being a problem nationally but their understanding of how it is defined was limited. Parents used alternative approaches to objective measures when identifying overweight in children such as visual assessments and comparisons with other children. Such approaches relied heavily on extreme and exceptional cases as a reference point. The apparent lack of relevance of childhood overweight to their child’s school or own community along with scepticism towards both media messages and clinical measures commonly emerged as grounds for failing to engage with the issue at a personal level.
Parents’ ability to identify when their child was overweight according to standard criteria was limited. Parents did not understand, use or trust clinical measures and used alternative approaches primarily reliant on extreme cases. Such approaches underpinned their reasoning for remaining detached from the issue. This study highlights the need to identify methods of improving parental recognition of and engagement with the problem of childhood overweight.
Qualitative Research; Parents; Child; Perception; Overweight; Obesity
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
Most clinic-based weight control treatments for youth have been designed for preadolescent children by using family-based care. However, as adolescents become more autonomous and less motivated by parental influence, this strategy may be less appropriate. This study evaluated a primary care–based, multicomponent lifestyle intervention specifically tailored for overweight adolescent females.
Adolescent girls (N = 208) 12 to 17 years of age (mean ± SD: 14.1 ± 1.4 years), with a mean ± SD BMI percentile of 97.09 ± 2.27, were assigned randomly to the intervention or usual care control group. The gender and developmentally tailored intervention included a focus on adoptable healthy lifestyle behaviors and was reinforced by ongoing feedback from the teen’s primary care physician. Of those randomized, 195 (94%) completed the 6-month posttreatment assessment, and 173 (83%) completed the 12-month follow-up. The primary outcome was reduction in BMI z score.
The decrease in BMI z score over time was significantly greater for intervention participants compared with usual care participants (−0.15 in BMI z score among intervention participants compared with −0.08 among usual care participants; P = .012). The 2 groups did not differ in secondary metabolic or psychosocial outcomes. Compared with usual care, intervention participants reported less reduction in frequency of family meals and less fast-food intake.
A 5-month, medium-intensity, primary care–based, multicomponent behavioral intervention was associated with significant and sustained decreases in BMI z scores among obese adolescent girls compared with those receiving usual care.
adolescent obesity; behavioral intervention; primary care; randomized controlled trial; weight management
Background. Antiobesity interventions have generally failed. Research now suggests that interventions must be informed by an understanding of the social environment. Objective. To examine if new social networks form between families participating in a group-level pediatric obesity prevention trial. Methods. Latino parent-preschool child dyads (N = 79) completed the 3-month trial. The intervention met weekly in consistent groups to practice healthy lifestyles. The control met monthly in inconsistent groups to learn about school readiness. UCINET and SIENA were used to examine network dynamics. Results. Children's mean age was 4.2 years (SD = 0.9), and 44% were overweight/obese (BMI ≥ 85th percentile). Parents were predominantly mothers (97%), with a mean age of 31.4 years (SD = 5.4), and 81% were overweight/obese (BMI ≥ 25). Over the study, a new social network evolved among participating families. Parents selectively formed friendship ties based on child BMI z-score, (t = 2.08; P < .05). This reveals the tendency for mothers to form new friendships with mothers whose children have similar body types. Discussion. Participating in a group-level intervention resulted in new social network formation. New ties were greatest with mothers who had children of similar body types. This finding might contribute to the known inability of parents to recognize child overweight.
As the rate of overweight among children is rising there is a need for evidence-based research that will clarify what the best interventional strategies to normalize weight development are. The overall aim of the Lund Overweight and Obesity Preschool Study (LOOPS) is to evaluate if a family-based intervention, targeting parents of preschool children with overweight and obesity, has a long-term positive effect on weight development of the children. The hypothesis is that preschool children with overweight and obesity, whose parents participate in a one-year intervention, both at completion of the one-year intervention and at long term follow up (2-, 3- and 5-years) will have reduced their BMI-for-age z-score.
The study is a randomized controlled trial, including overweight (n=160) and obese (n=80) children 4-6-years-old. The intervention is targeting the parents, who get general information about nutrition and exercise recommendations through a website and are invited to participate in a group intervention with the purpose of supporting them to accomplish preferred lifestyle changes, both in the short and long term. To evaluate the effect of various supports, the parents are randomized to different interventions with the main focus of: 1) supporting the parents in limit setting by emphasizing the importance of positive interactions between parents and children and 2) influencing the patterns of daily activities to induce alterations of everyday life that will lead to healthier lifestyle. The primary outcome variable, child BMI-for-age z-score will be measured at referral, inclusion, after 6 months, at the end of intervention and at 2-, 3- and 5-years post intervention. Secondary outcome variables, measured at inclusion and at the end of intervention, are child activity pattern, eating habits and biochemical markers as well as parent BMI, exercise habits, perception of health, experience of parenthood and level of parental stress.
The LOOPS project will provide valuable information on how to build effective interventions to influence an unhealthy weight development to prevent the negative long-term effects of childhood obesity.
Overweight; Obesity; Preschool; Child; Parent; Intervention study
There are disproportionately higher rates of overweight and obesity in poor rural communities but studies exploring children’s health-related behaviors that may assist in designing effective interventions are limited. We examined the association between overweight and obesity prevalence of 401 ethnically/racially diverse, rural school-aged children and healthy-lifestyle behaviors: improving diet quality, obtaining adequate sleep, limiting screen-time viewing, and consulting a physician about a child’s weight.
A cross-sectional analysis was conducted on a sample of school-aged children (6–11 years) in rural regions of California, Kentucky, Mississippi, and South Carolina participating in CHANGE (Creating Healthy, Active, and Nurturing Growing-up Environments) Program, created by Save the Children, an independent organization that works with communities to improve overall child health, with the objective to reduce unhealthy weight gain in these school-aged children (grades 1–6) in rural America. After measuring children’s height and weight, we17 assessed overweight and obesity (BMI ≥ 85th percentile) associations with these behaviors: improving diet quality18 (≥ 2 servings of fruits and vegetables/day), reducing whole milk, sweetened beverage consumption/day; obtaining19 adequate night-time sleep on weekdays (≥ 10 hours/night); limiting screen-time (i.e., television, video, computer,20 videogame) viewing on weekdays (≤ 2 hours/day); and consulting a physician about weight. Analyses were adjusted 21 for state of residence, children's race/ethnicity, gender, age, and government assistance.
Overweight or obesity prevalence was 37 percent in Mississippi and nearly 60 percent in Kentucky. Adjusting for covariates, obese children were twice as likely to eat ≥ 2 servings of vegetables per day (OR=2.0,95% CI 1.1-3.4), less likely to consume whole milk (OR=0.4,95% CI 0.2-0.70), Their parents are more likely to be told by their doctor that their child was obese (OR=108.0,95% CI 21.9-541.6), and less likely to report talking to their child about fruits and vegetables a lot/sometimes vs. not very much/never (OR=0.4, 95%CI 0.2-0.98) compared to the parents of healthy-weight children.
Rural children are not meeting recommendations to improve diet, reduce screen time and obtain adequate sleep. Although we expected obese children to be more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, we found the opposite to be true. It is possible that these groups of respondent parents were highly aware of their weight status and have been advised to change their children’s health behaviors. Perhaps given the opportunity to participate in an intervention study in combination with a physician recommendation could have resulted in actual behavior change.
Obesity; Children; Rural; Diet; Physical activity; Vulnerable populations; Healthy lifestyle behaviors
To examine maternal beliefs and practices related to weight status, child feeding, and child overweight in the Latino culture that may contribute to the rising rates of overweight among preschool Latino children in the U.S.
Design and sample
This two-phase qualitative study relies on data obtained in 6 focus groups with a total of 31 primarily Spanish-speaking, low income mothers, followed by 20 individual, in-depth interviews with women participating in a health promotion educational program.
Child-feeding beliefs, practices and weight status perceptions were elicited.
Findings indicated that most respondents reported personal struggles with weight gain, particularly during and after pregnancy, and were concerned that their children would become obese. Although subjects understood the health and social consequences related to overweight, many discussed the pressures of familial and cultural influences endorsing a “chubby child.”
Education and interventions that incorporate “culturally mediated” pathways to address mothers’ feeding practices are essential for prevention and control of childhood overweight among low-income Latinos. Nurses should be aware of social and cultural influences on Latina mothers’ beliefs and practices related to weight status and feeding practices and address these in their education approaches to prevent childhood overweight and obesity with this population group.
childhood overweight; Latino; beliefs; feeding practices
Many studies have found that parents of overweight children do not perceive their child to be overweight. Little is known, however, about the extent to which such misperceptions exist among parents of preschool-aged children.
We analyzed data that were collected in 2004-2005 from parents of 593 preschool-aged children in 20 child care centers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, metropolitan area. Parents were asked how they would classify their preschooler's weight, and children's height and weight were measured.
Of the predominantly white, educated sample, most parents (90.7%) of overweight preschoolers classified their child as normal weight. An even higher percentage (94.7%) of children at risk for overweight were classified as normal weight by their parents. Most parents of normal-weight children classified their child's weight as average. However, 16.0% classified their normal-weight child as underweight or very underweight.
Results indicate that parents are unlikely to recognize childhood overweight among preschool-aged children, which is concerning because parents of overweight children may be unlikely to engage in obesity prevention efforts for their child if they do not recognize their child's risk status. A notable proportion of parents of normal-weight children perceived their child to be underweight, which suggests that parents of normal-weight children may be more concerned with undernutrition than overnutrition.
Overweight and obesity is a growing problem in Ireland. Many parents are unaware when their child is overweight or obese. Our objectives were to examine parents’ perceptions of a healthy diet and their children’s BMI; and to evaluate the food offered to children in our paediatric in-patient unit.
A retrospective questionnaire was distributed to 95 patients and their families admitted over one month. Seventy-eight had BMI values calculated (42 males, 36 females). Twenty-one children (26.9%) were overweight/obese: 14/21 parents (66.7%) thought their child had a normal weight. Sixty percent of children served dinner in the hospital were given fried potatoes. Four had fruit/vegetables. Forty-six parents brought food into hospital, of these 14 brought purchased food.
This study highlights the problem of child obesity in Ireland and parental underestimation of this problem. The nutritional value of food served to children in hospital needs to be improved and hospital admissions used as opportunities to promote healthy eating habits.
Overweight; Obesity; Children; Hospital; Nutrition
Examine health of preschoolers by BMI status.
A cross-sectional analysis of children 3 to 5 years old in the 1999–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was carried out. The measured age- and sex-specific BMI percentiles were used to categorize children as very obese, obese, overweight, or healthy weight. The authors used logistic regression to examine the effect of weight status on 17 available measures of current child health potentially related to obesity.
Except for very obese children, weight status had minimal effect on most measures of health for preschool-aged children (n = 2792). Parents of very obese children reported poorer general health and more activity limitations for their children. Additionally, very obese girls had more frequent/severe headaches, and overweight/obese boys had more asthma diagnoses.
Only severe obesity appears consistently related to immediate health problems in preschool-aged children. Parental perception that very obese children have worse health and more activity limitations may lead to decreases in physical activity, which would perpetuate obesity.
cross-sectional design; comorbidities; obesity; overweight; BMI; preschool children
Very few studies have evaluated the association between a child's lifestyle factors and their parent's ability to recognise the overweight status of their offspring. The aim of this study was to analyze the factors associated with a parent's ability to recognise their own offspring's overweight status.
125 overweight children out of all 1,278 school beginners in Northern Finland were enrolled.
Weight and height were measured in health care clinics. Overweight status was defined by BMI according to internationally accepted criteria. A questionnaire to be filled in by parents was delivered by the school nurses. The parents were asked to evaluate their offspring's weight status. The child's eating habits and physical activity patterns were also enquired about. Factor groups of food and physical activity habits were formed by factor analysis. Binary logistic regression was performed using all variables associated with recognition of overweight status in univariate analyses. The significant risk factors in the final model are reported using odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Fifty-seven percent (69/120) of the parents of the overweight children considered their child as normal weight. Child's BMI was positively associated with parental recognition of overweight (OR 3.59, CI 1.8 to 7.0). Overweight boys were less likely to be recognised than overweight girls (OR 0.14, CI 0.033 to 0.58). Child's healthy diet (OR 0.22, CI 0.091 to 0.54) and high physical activity (OR 0.29, CI 0.11 to 0.79) were inversely related to parental recognition of overweight status.
Child's healthy eating habits and physical activity are inversely related to parental recognition of their offspring's overweight. These should be taken into account when planning prevention and treatment strategies for childhood obesity.
overweight status; children; recognition; parents
To characterize the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs (KAB) regarding childhood obesity among parents of Latino preschoolers.
Three hundred sixty-nine Mexican immigrant parents of children ages 2–5 were interviewed. Children were weighed and measured.
Parents underestimated their own child’s weight status and had high levels of perceived control over their children’s eating and activity behaviors. Parents of overweight (≥95%ile-for-age-and-sex BMI) versus nonoverweight (<95%ile BMI) children did not differ in their beliefs about ideal child body size.
Latino parents of overweight children did not differ from parents of nonoverweight children with respect to their KAB about childhood obesity.
childhood obesity; health beliefs; Mexican Americans
Reversing the obesity epidemic requires the development and evaluation of childhood obesity intervention programs. Lifestyle Triple P is a parent-focused group program that addresses three topics: nutrition, physical activity, and positive parenting. Australian research has established the efficacy of Lifestyle Triple P, which aims to prevent excessive weight gain in overweight and obese children. The aim of the current randomized controlled trial is to assess the effectiveness of the Lifestyle Triple P intervention when applied to Dutch parents of overweight and obese children aged 4–8 years. This effectiveness study is called GO4fit.
Parents of overweight and obese children are being randomized to either the intervention or the control group. Those assigned to the intervention condition receive the 14-week Lifestyle Triple P intervention, in which they learn a range of nutritional, physical activity and positive parenting strategies. Parents in the control group receive two brochures, web-based tailored advice, and suggestions for exercises to increase active playing at home. Measurements are taken at baseline, directly after the intervention, and at one year follow-up. Primary outcome measure is the children’s body composition, operationalized as BMI z-score, waist circumference, and fat mass (biceps and triceps skinfolds). Secondary outcome measures are children’s dietary behavior and physical activity level, parenting practices, parental feeding style, parenting style, parental self-efficacy, and body composition of family members (parents and siblings).
Our intervention is characterized by a focus on changing general parenting styles, in addition to focusing on changing specific parenting practices, as obesity interventions typically do. Strengths of the current study are the randomized design, the long-term follow-up, and the broad range of both self-reported and objectively measured outcomes.
Current Controlled Trials NTR 2555
NL 31988.068.10 / MEC 10-3-052
Weight problems that arise in the first years of life tend to persist. Behavioral research in this period can provide information on the modifiable etiology of unhealthy weight. The present study aimed to replicate findings from previous small-scale studies by examining whether different aspects of preschooler’s eating behavior and parental feeding practices are associated with body mass index (BMI) and weight status -including underweight, overweight and obesity- in a population sample of preschool children.
Cross-sectional data on the Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire, Child Feeding Questionnaire and objectively measured BMI was available for 4987 four-year-olds participating in a population-based cohort in the Netherlands.
Thirteen percent of the preschoolers had underweight, 8% overweight, and 2% obesity. Higher levels of children’s Food Responsiveness, Enjoyment of Food and parental Restriction were associated with a higher mean BMI independent of measured confounders. Emotional Undereating, Satiety Responsiveness and Fussiness of children as well as parents’ Pressure to Eat were negatively related with children’s BMI. Similar trends were found with BMI categorized into underweight, normal weight, overweight and obesity. Part of the association between children’s eating behaviors and BMI was accounted for by parental feeding practices (changes in effect estimates: 20-43%), while children’s eating behaviors in turn explained part of the relation between parental feeding and child BMI (changes in effect estimates: 33-47%).
This study provides important information by showing how young children’s eating behaviors and parental feeding patterns differ between children with normal weight, underweight and overweight. The high prevalence of under- and overweight among preschoolers suggest prevention interventions targeting unhealthy weights should start early in life. Although longitudinal studies are necessary to ascertain causal directions, efforts to prevent or treat unhealthy child weight might benefit from a focus on changing the behaviors of both children and their parents.
Overweight; Underweight; BMI; Eating behavior; Feeding; Parenting; Children
Compare parent-reported preschool- and school-aged children’s eating and leisure-time activity patterns that are proposed to influence energy balance.
Cross-sectional investigation of children, 2 to 12 years, attending a well-visit.
Pediatric private practice/ambulatory pediatric clinic.
One hundred seventy-four children: 49% preschool-aged, 54% female, 28% Hispanic, and 34% overweight/at risk for overweight.
Parent-reported eating/leisure-time behaviors. Height/weight from medical records.
Analyses of covariance/Chi-square tests; significance at P ≤ 0.05.
By parents’ report, preschool-aged children consumed more servings/day of low-fat dairy (2.1 ± 1.6 vs. 1.7 ± 1.5; P <.01), fewer servings/day of sweetened drinks (1.4 ± 1.9 vs. 2.2 ± 2.6; P <.01), and watched fewer hours/day of weekend TV (2.3 ± 1. 3 vs. 2.7 ± 1.3; P <.05) than school-aged children. Fewer preschool-aged children consumed salty (14.0% vs. 26.1%; P <.05) and sweet (16.3% vs. 29.5%; P <.05) snack foods daily, and a greater percentage regularly consumed dinner with a parent (93.0% vs. 80.7%; P <.05), as assessed by parent report.
Conclusions and Implications
Parent-reported children’s eating/leisure-time patterns that may influence energy balance were less healthy in the school-aged children. However, most children did not meet recommendations, irrespective of age/weight. Interventions for meeting recommendations should start with families with preschool-aged children. Future research should focus on identifying factors that might be contributing to increased reporting of problematic food and leisure-time activity patterns in school-aged children.
Children; Preschool; Diet; Leisure-time; Obesity
More than 20% of US children ages 2-5 yrs are classified as overweight or obese. Parents greatly influence the behaviors their children adopt, including those which impact weight (e.g., diet and physical activity). Unfortunately, parents often fail to recognize the risk for excess weight gain in young children, and may not be motivated to modify behavior. Research is needed to explore intervention strategies that engage families with young children and motivate parents to adopt behaviors that will foster healthy weight development.
This study tests the efficacy of the 35-week My Parenting SOS intervention. The intervention consists of 12 sessions: initial sessions focus on general parenting skills (stress management, effective parenting styles, child behavior management, coparenting, and time management) and later sessions apply these skills to promote healthier eating and physical activity habits. The primary outcome is change in child percent body fat. Secondary measures assess parent and child dietary intake (three 24-hr recalls) and physical activity (accelerometry), general parenting style and practices, nutrition- and activity-related parenting practices, and parent motivation to adopt healthier practices.
Testing of these new approaches contributes to our understanding of how general and weight-specific parenting practices influence child weight, and whether or not they can be changed to promote healthy weight trajectories.
In most developed countries, maternal employment has increased rapidly. Changing patterns of family life have been suggested to be contributing to the rising prevalence of childhood obesity.
Our primary objective was to examine the relationship between maternal and partner employment and overweight in children aged three years. Our secondary objective was to investigate factors related to early childhood overweight only among mothers in employment.
13113 singleton children aged three years in the Millennium Cohort Study, born between 2000 and 2002 in the United Kingdom, who had complete height/weight data and parental employment histories.
Parents were interviewed when the child was aged 9 months and 3 years and the child's height and weight were measured at 3 years. Overweight (including obesity) was defined by the International Obesity Task Force cut-offs.
23% (3085) of children were overweight at 3 years. Any maternal employment after the child's birth was associated with early childhood overweight (OR [95% CI]; 1.14 [1.00, 1.29]), after adjustment for potential confounding and mediating factors. Children were more likely to be overweight for every 10 hours a mother worked per week (OR [95% CI]; 1.10 [1.04, 1.17]), after adjustment. An interaction with household income revealed that this relationship was only significant for children from households with an annual income of £33,000 ($57,750) or higher. There was no evidence for an association between early childhood overweight and whether or for how many hours the partner worked or with mothers' or partners' duration of employment. These relationships were found to be stronger among mothers in employment. Independent risk factors for early childhood overweight were consistent with the published literature.
Long hours of maternal employment rather than lack of money may impede young children's access to healthy foods and physical activity. Policies supporting work-life balance may help parents reduce potential barriers.
obesity; preschool children; employment; mothers; fathers
Studies have shown that a proportion of children as young as two years are already overweight. This indicates that obesity prevention programs that commence as early as possible and are family-focused are needed. This Healthy Beginnings Trial aims to determine the efficacy of a community-based randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a home visiting intervention in preventing the early onset of childhood overweight and obesity. The intervention will be conducted over the first two years of life to increase healthy feeding behaviours and physical activity, decrease physical inactivity, enhance parent-child interaction, and hence reduce overweight and obesity among children at 2 and 5 years of age in the most socially and economically disadvantaged areas of Sydney, Australia.
This RCT will be conducted with a consecutive sample of 782 first time mothers with their newborn children. Pregnant women who are expecting their first child, and who are between weeks 24 and 34 of their pregnancy, will be invited to participate in the trial at the antenatal clinic. Informed consent will be obtained and participants will then be randomly allocated to the intervention or the control group. The allocation will be concealed by sequentially numbered, sealed opaque envelopes containing a computer generated random number. The intervention comprises eight home visits from a specially trained community nurse over two years and pro-active telephone support between the visits. Main outcomes include a) duration of breastfeeding measured at 6 and 12 months, b) introduction of solids measured at 4 and 6 months, c) nutrition, physical activity and television viewing measured at 24 months, and d) overweight/obesity status at age 2 and 5 years.
The results of this trial will ascertain whether the home based early intervention is effective in preventing the early onset of childhood overweight and obesity. If proved to be effective, it will result in a series of recommendations for policy and practical methods for promoting healthy feeding and physical activity of children in the first two years of life with particular application to families who are socially and economically disadvantaged.
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.
The protocol for this study is registered with the clinical trials registry clinicaltrials.gov, ID: ES-2010)
Interventions to teach children healthy and effective coping skills could help reduce their risk for overweight. However, few studies have examined whether an intervention that teaches coping strategies in weight management can influence children’s coping behavior and psychosocial well-being.
To examine the efficacy of an interactive, child-centered, and family-based program in promoting effective coping, behavioral health, and quality of life in Chinese American children.
A randomized, controlled study of behavioral intervention in 67 Chinese American children (ages 8–10 years, normal weight and overweight) and their families. At baseline and 2, 6, and 8 months after baseline, children had anthropometric measurements and completed questionnaires related to coping skills and quality of life, and parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist.
Children in the intervention group reported using more active coping strategies and having a higher quality of life in the physical and emotional health domains than did children in the control group during the 8-month study. Children’s behavioral problems did not differ between the intervention and control groups. Changes in coping and psychosocial well-being were not related to change in body mass index (BMI) in the entire group, except increased BMI is associated with decreased emotional quality of life.
This culturally appropriate behavioral intervention was effective in promoting healthy coping and improving quality of life in Chinese American children. Its utility for both optimal weight and overweight children suggests potential application of the intervention in a broad range of populations.
childhood obesity; Chinese-Americans; coping; quality of life
To compare children’s actual weight status with their parents’ perceptions of their weight status.
Cross-sectional study, including a self-administered questionnaire.
Seven elementary schools in Middlesex-London, Ont.
A convenience sample of pupils in grades 4 to 6 and their parents. Of the 770 child-parent pairs targeted, 355 pairs participated in the study.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Children’s weight, height, and body mass index (BMI). Parents’ perceptions of their children’s weight status, family demographics, and parents’ self-reported body weight and height. The United States Centers for Disease Control’s BMI-for-age references were used to define children’s weight status (underweight, overweight, or obese).
Response rate was 46%. Children’s actual weight status (ie, 29.9% overweight or obese and 1.4% underweight) was different from their parents’ perceptions of their weight status (ie, 18.3% overweight or obese and 17.2% slightly underweight or underweight). Factors suchas children’s sex and ethnicity and mothers’ weight influenced parents’ ability to recognize their children’s weight status. Parents’ misperceptions of their children’s weight status seemed to be unrelated to their levelsof education, their family income, or their children’s ages.
A large proportion of parents did not recognize that their children were overweight or obese. Effective public health strategies to increase parents’ awareness of their children’s weight status could be the first key steps in an effort to prevent childhood obesity.
To assess the impact of breast feeding on the risk of obesity and risk of being overweight in children at the time of entry to school.
Cross sectional survey
Bavaria, southern Germany.
Routine data were collected on the height and weight of 134 577 children participating in the obligatory health examination at the time of school entry in Bavaria. In a subsample of 13 345 children, early feeding, diet, and lifestyle factors were assessed using responses to a questionnaire completed by parents.
9357 children aged 5 and 6 who had German nationality.
Main outcome measures
Being overweight was defined as having a body mass index above the 90th centile and obesity was defined as body mass index above the 97th centile of all enrolled German children. Exclusive breast feeding was defined as the child being fed no food other than breast milk.
The prevalence of obesity in children who had never been breast fed was 4.5% as compared with 2.8% in breastfed children. A clear dose-response effect was identified for the duration of breast feeding on the prevalence of obesity: the prevalence was 3.8% for 2 months of exclusive breast feeding, 2.3% for 3-5 months, 1.7% for 6-12 months, and 0.8% for more than 12 months. Similar relations were found with the prevalence of being overweight. The protective effect of breast feeding was not attributable to differences in social class or lifestyle. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, breast feeding remained a significant protective factor against the development of obesity (odds ratio 0.75, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.98) and being overweight (0.79, 0.68 to 0.93).
In industrialised countries promoting prolonged breast feeding may help decrease the prevalence of obesity in childhood. Since obese children have a high risk of becoming obese adults, such preventive measures may eventually result in a reduction in the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and other diseases related to obesity.
Key messagesObesity is the most frequent nutritional disorder in children, and is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease in adulthood Preventing obesity in children should be a useful strategy in preventing later heart disease because weight loss interventions in obese children are costly and rarely successfulData from a cross sectional study in Bavaria suggest that the risk of obesity in children at the time of school entry can be reduced by breast feeding: a 35% reduction occurs if children are breastfed for 3 to 5 monthsPreventing obesity and its consequences may be an important argument in the drive to encourage breast feeding in industrialised countries
The objective of the current study is to learn more about the attitudes concerning pediatric obesity among rural parents, the barriers these parents face in trying to help their children attain a healthy weight status, and the pediatric weight loss services currently available in small rural communities. A series of eight qualitative focus groups were conducted with 21 parents of overweight rural children in third through fifth grade. Eight saturated themes resulted indicating that parents believe overweight children are lazy, are concerned about the weight of their children, believe that some individuals will be overweight no matter what they do, and have tried a variety of techniques to help their child lose weight. Barriers to helping their children lose weight unique to their rural status included lack of weight loss resources in their community, lack of exercise facilities, and lack of low fat or low calorie options in grocery stores. Rural families of overweight children encounter many barriers to healthier living, some of which are unique to their rural status.
pediatric obesity; telemedicine; focus groups; parents' perceptions; rural communities
1) Compare mothers’ and fathers’ early reactions (stressors, concerns) to the preschool child’s head injury, their perceptions of the child’s injury severity, their social support and mental health; 2) compare families with a child in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) vs. general care unit (GCU) on these variables; 3) describe the relationships between parents’ early reactions and perceived and objective injury severity, their social support and mental health.
Analysis of data collected in the hospital 24–48 hours after the child’s admission as part of a longitudinal study of parent and family functioning after a preschool child’s head injury.
7 tertiary care centers – 3 free-standing children’s hospitals, 4 comprehensive hospitals.
182 mothers and 64 fathers of 183 preschool children (ages 3–6) hospitalized for head injury, half in a PICU.
Measurements and Main Results
Outcome variable – parent early reactions (stressors, concerns), influenced by parent mental health, social support, objective and perceived injury severity. Mothers reported more stress than fathers regarding the child’s behavior and emotions, communication with staff, and their parental role. Mothers in the PICU group reported more concern about the child’s future and more stress regarding the child’s appearance, sights and sounds of the unit, and procedures done to the child than mothers in the GCU group. Fathers in the PICU and GCU groups reported similar levels of stress and concern. Mothers’ reactions were influenced by objective and perceived injury severity, social support, and psychological distress. Fathers’ reactions were influenced by objective injury severity and psychological distress.
Although mother-father couples rated their child’s injury severity similarly, mothers experienced more stress than fathers. Social support decreased the stress for mothers but not for fathers. The experience of pediatric head trauma was more stressful for mothers of children in the PICU than mothers of children in the GCU.