Nav: Home

Study finds behavioral changes insufficient at preventing early childhood obesity

August 07, 2018

Young children and their families in poor communities were able to make some achievable and sustainable behavioral changes during the longest and largest obesity prevention intervention, but, in the end, the results were insufficient to prevent early childhood obesity.

The results of the Growing Right Onto Wellness (GROW) trial, released in JAMA, showed a short-term reduction in obesity that diminished over the three-year study period even in the face of improved, sustained nutrition and use of neighborhood recreation centers.

Principal investigator Shari Barkin, MD, director of Pediatric Obesity Research at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, said the amount of behavioral change likely needs to increase to be successful, but it remains unclear what would be enough to prevent childhood obesity in underserved, low-income populations -- those most at-risk for obesity and its long-term health consequences.

"The interventions, even for prevention, likely need to be intense and active for longer periods of time," Barkin said. "We tested a tiered intervention consistent with adult obesity treatment trials, but childhood obesity prevention for underserved families might require sustained highly active interventions."

A total of 610 parent-preschool child pairs, 90 percent of whom were Hispanic, received high-dose behavioral intervention during the three-year study period. The children were at-risk for obesity, but not yet obese.

"This was a pragmatic study, based in families and the communities in which they lived," said Barkin, also the William K. Warren Foundation Endowed Professor and chief of the Division of Academic General Pediatrics at Children's Hospital.

Forty-two percent of families reported food insecurity with hunger, and 80 percent of participating parents were either overweight or obese.

"The intervention seemed to work best for children who reported food insecurity with hunger at baseline," Barkin said. "We think this could be due to the fact that the intervention connected families to existing resources in their community and to other families in their neighborhoods, but this finding needs to be tested further."

The behavioral intervention included three phases - a 12-week skills building intensive phase, a nine-month phone call coaching maintenance phase and a 24-month cue-to-action sustainability phase.

"In the face of the childhood obesity epidemic, this study underscores the ongoing need to find effective prevention interventions, particularly among low-income minority populations who have a high prevalence of obesity," said Charlotte Pratt, PhD, RD, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) program director for the GROW trial and a co-author of the study. NHLBI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
-end-
The community-based trial partnered with Metro Parks and Recreation (for the intervention, GROW Healthier), the Library (for the comparator condition, GROW Smarter) and was guided by a Community Advisory Board representing more than 15 community organizations.

The research was supported by NIH grants (U01 HL103620, U01 HL103561, and NIH DK056350) with additional support from the remaining members of the COPTR Consortium (U01 HD068890, U01 HL103622, and U01 HL103629) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) and funding from the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. The REDCap Database is supported by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences/NIH grant UL1 TR000445.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Related Obesity Articles:

Obesity is in the eye of the beholder
Doctors have a specific definition of what it means to be overweight or obese, but in the social world, gender, race and generation matter a lot for whether people are judged as 'thin enough' or 'too fat.'
Type 2 diabetes and obesity -- what do we really know?
Social and economic factors have led to a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world.
Three in 4 don't know obesity causes cancer
Three out of four (75 percent) people in the UK are unaware of the link between obesity and cancer, according to a new Cancer Research UK report published today.
Obesity on the rise in Indonesia
Obesity is on the rise in Indonesia, one of the largest studies of the double burden of malnutrition in children has revealed.
Obesity rates are not declining in US youth
A clear and significant increase in obesity continued from 1999 through 2014, according to an analysis of data on United States children and adolescents age 2 to 19 years.
How does the environment affect obesity?
Researchers will be examining how agricultural and food processing practices may affect brown fat activity directly or indirectly.
Obesity Day to highlight growing obesity epidemic in Europe
The growing obesity epidemic, which is predicted to affect more than half of all European citizens by 2030, will be the focus of European Obesity Day to be held on May 21.
Understanding obesity from the inside out
Researchers developed a new laboratory method that allowed them to identify GABA as a key player in the complex brain processes that control appetite and metabolism.
Epigenetic switch for obesity
Obesity can sometimes be shut down.
Immunological Aspects of Obesity
This FASEB Conference focuses on the interactions between obesity and immune cells, focusing in particular on how inflammation in various organs influences obesity and obesity-related complications.

Related Obesity Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...