Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a parent-focused intervention on infants' obesity-risk behaviors and BMI.
Methods: This cluster randomized controlled trial recruited 542 parents and their infants (mean age 3.8 months at baseline) from 62 first-time parent groups. Parents were offered six 2-hour dietitian-delivered sessions over 15 months focusing on parental knowledge, skills, and social support around infant feeding, diet, physical activity, and television viewing. Control group parents received 6 newsletters on nonobesity-focused themes; all parents received usual care from child health nurses. The primary outcomes of interest were child diet (3 × 24-hour diet recalls), child physical activity (accelerometry), and child TV viewing (parent report). Secondary outcomes included BMI z-scores (measured). Data were collected when children were 4, 9, and 20 months of age.
Results: Unadjusted analyses showed that, compared with controls, intervention group children consumed fewer grams of noncore drinks (mean difference = -4.45; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -7.92 to -0.99; P = .01) and were less likely to consume any noncore drinks (odds ratio = 0.48; 95% CI: 0.24 to 0.95; P = .034) midintervention (mean age 9 months). At intervention conclusion (mean age 19.8 months), intervention group children consumed fewer grams of sweet snacks (mean difference = -3.69; 95% CI: -6.41 to -0.96; P = .008) and viewed fewer daily minutes of television (mean difference = -15.97: 95% CI: -25.97 to -5.96; P = .002). There was little statistical evidence of differences in fruit, vegetable, savory snack, or water consumption or in BMI z-scores or physical activity.
Conclusions: This intervention resulted in reductions in sweet snack consumption and television viewing in 20-month-old children.