Twelve-Month Efficacy of an Obesity Prevention Program Targeting Hispanic Families With Preschoolers From Low-Income Backgrounds

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2021 Aug;53(8):677-690. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2021.04.460. Epub 2021 Jun 18.


Objective: Assess effects of an obesity prevention program promoting eating self-regulation and healthy preferences in Hispanic preschool children.

Design: Randomized controlled trial with pretest, posttest, 6- and 12-month assessments. Fourteen waves, each lasting 7 weeks.

Setting: Families recruited from Head Start across 2 sites.

Participants: Two hundred fifty-five families randomized into prevention (n = 136) or control (n = 119).

Intervention: Prevention received curriculum; control received no curriculum.

Main outcome measure(s): Feeding knowledge/practices/styles (parent); body mass index percentile, eating self-regulation, trying new foods, and fruit/vegetable consumption (child).

Analysis: Multilevel analyses for nested data (time points within families; families within waves) and multinomial regression.

Results: Program increased mothers' repeated presentation of new foods (P < 0.05), measured portion sizes (P < 0.05), child involvement in food preparation (P < 0.001), feeding responsiveness (P < 0.001), knowledge of best feeding practices (P < 0.001), and feeding efficacy (P < 0.05); reduced feeding misconceptions (P < 0.01) and uninvolved feeding (P < 0.01). Effects on child eating behavior were minimal. At 12 months, children in the prevention group were less likely to have overweight (P < 0.05) or obesity (P < 0.05).

Conclusions and implications: Program effects emphasize the importance of feeding approaches in reducing childhood obesity.

Keywords: child eating self-regulation; child fruit and vegetable consumption; childhood obesity; family-based; prevention program.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Mothers
  • Pediatric Obesity* / prevention & control
  • Poverty