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Childhood Obesity PreventionInternational Research, Controversies and Interventions$
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Jennifer A. O'Dea and Michael Eriksen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572915

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572915.001.0001

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

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

(p.396) Chapter 34 Obesity prevention interventions for early childhood: An updated systematic review of the literature
Childhood Obesity Prevention

Kylie Hesketh

Karen Campbell

Oxford University Press

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

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