Parental behavioral intervention has no effect on BMI outcomes in children

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Takeaway

  • BMI did not differ among children whose parents had a behavioral intervention vs those whose parents did not.

Why this matters

  • This GROW study is 1 of 2 published in JAMA addressing a parent-targeting intervention on child BMI.
  • The other study found a modest effect of a different parental intervention in a population with different demographics.
  • An accompanying editorial says that how the studies differ might yield clues as to what is important in obesity prevention.

Key results

  • For the groups, mean BMI at 36 months (standard deviation) was:
    • 17.8 (2.2) with the intervention, and 
    • 17.8 (2.1) in the control group.
  • The groups did not differ significantly.
  • A secondary analysis showed reduced daily energy intake among children in the intervention group: 99.4 (95% CI, 38.0-160.7; P=.002; corrected P=.003) kcal less at 36 months.

Study design

  • Randomized trial, 610 parent-child pairs (304 intervention; 306 control; >90% Latino), Nashville, Tennessee.
  • 36-month multicomponent intervention related to health behaviors; control was school readiness intervention.
  • Children were aged 3-5 years, at risk for obesity but not obese.
  • Primary outcome measure: BMI trajectory during 36 months.
  • Funding: NIH.

Limitations

  • Limited to a specific population, no data on cardiometabolic risk, parent report of energy intake.