November 04, 2016
1 min read

Parental intervention reduces overweight, obesity in young children

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NEW ORLEANS — A responsive parenting intervention was effective in reducing overweight and preventing obesity at age 2 years, according to a presenter here.

“The intervention itself is framed around responsive parenting, and we operationally define that as mothers and caregivers prompt, contingent and appropriate interaction with children,” Jennifer S. Savage, PhD, assistant professor, interim director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University, said during her presentation. “Why we chose to frame our intervention around responsive parenting is that the literature in the parenting domain has shown a lot of positive health outcomes and behavioral outcomes for those interventions.”

Savage and colleagues used data from the Intervention Nurses Start Infants Growing on Healthy Trajectories, which compared a responsive parenting intervention with a safety control to determine the effects on BMI at age 2 years. After childbirth, mother-newborn dyads were randomized. Intervention content was delivered in-home by nurses at infant ages 3, 16, 28 and 40 weeks. Participants made visits to clinical research centers at ages 1 and 2 years.

Compared with control infants, infants in the responsive parenting group were less likely to have overweight (11.4% vs. 20.8%) and obesity (0.8% vs. 8.3%).

After adjustment for covariates, BMI z score was lower for infants in the responsive parenting group (-0.11) compared with controls (0.15) at age 2 years.

Maternal gestational weight gain, maternal postpartum weight retention and hours the child spent in childcare were positively correlated with BMI at 2 years.

“This multicomponent responsive parenting intervention was successful at preventing overweight and obesity at age 2 years, and our future analyses will explore this at age 3 to better understand the sustainable effect of our intervention,” Hayes said. – by Amber Cox


Savage J, et al. Oral T-OR-2035. Presented at: ObesityWeek 2016; Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 2016; New Orleans.

Disclosure: Savage reports no relevant financial disclosures.