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Obesity prevention interventions for early childhood: An updated systematic review of the literature

Kylie Hesketh and Karen Campbell

in Childhood Obesity Prevention

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199572915
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595110 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572915.003.0034
Obesity prevention interventions for early childhood: An updated systematic review of the literature

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A previous review of the small number of early childhood obesity prevention literature promoted healthy eating, physical activity, and/or reduce sedentary behaviours in 0–5 year olds, suggesting that this is a new and developing research area. This chapter reviews rapidly emerging evidence in this area and assesses the quality of studies reported. Ten electronic databases were searched to identify literature published from January 1995 to August 2008. Inclusion criteria were interventions reporting child anthropometric, diet, physical activity or sedentary behaviour outcomes, and focusing on children aged 0–5 years of age. Exclusion criteria were focusing on breastfeeding, eating disorders, obesity treatment, malnutrition, or school-based interventions. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed study quality. Twenty-three studies met all criteria. Most were conducted in preschool/childcare (n=9) or home settings (n=8). Approximately half targeted socioeconomically disadvantaged children (n=12) and three quarters were published from 2003 onwards (n=17). The interventions varied widely although most were multi-faceted in their approach. While study design and quality varied, most studies reported that their interventions were feasible and acceptable, although the impact on behaviours that contribute to obesity were not achieved by all. Early childhood obesity prevention interventions represent a rapidly growing research area. Current evidence suggests that behaviours that contribute to obesity can be positively impacted upon in a range of settings and provides important insights into the most effective strategies for promoting healthy weight from early childhood.

Keywords: physical activity; sedentary behaviours; overweight; obesity; children; intervention; eating; pre-school; toddler; early childhood

Chapter.  6549 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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