A Home Visiting Parenting Program and Child Obesity: A Randomized Trial
BACKGROUND: Young children living in historically marginalized families are at risk for becoming adolescents with obesity and subsequently adults with increased obesity-related morbidities. These risks are particularly acute for Hispanic children. We hypothesized that the prevention-focused, socioecological approach of the “Minding the Baby” (MTB) home visiting program might decrease the rate of childhood overweight and obesity early in life.
METHODS: This study is a prospective longitudinal cohort study in which we include data collected during 2 phases of the MTB randomized controlled trial. First-time, young mothers who lived in medically underserved communities were invited to participate in the MTB program. Data were collected on demographics, maternal mental health, and anthropometrics of 158 children from birth to 2 years.
RESULTS: More children in the intervention group had a healthy BMI at 2 years. The rate of obesity was significantly higher (P < .01) in the control group (19.7%) compared with the intervention group (3.3%) at this age. Among Hispanic families, children in the MTB intervention were less likely to have overweight or obesity (odds ratio = 0.32; 95% confidence interval: 0.13–0.78).
CONCLUSIONS: Using the MTB program, we significantly lowered the rate of obesity among 2-year-old children living in low-socioeconomic-status communities. In addition, children of Hispanic mothers were less likely to have overweight or obesity at 2 years. Given the high and disproportionate national prevalence of Hispanic young children with overweight and obesity and the increased costs of obesity-related morbidities, these findings have important clinical, research, and policy implications.
- Accepted November 1, 2017.
- Copyright © 2018 by the American Academy of Pediatrics