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Study finds behavioral changes insufficient at preventing early childhood obesity

by Aug. 9, 2018, 1:01 PM

Young children and their families in poor communities were able to make some achievable and sustainable behavioral changes during the longest and largest obesity prevention intervention ever conducted. But, in the end, the results were insufficient to prevent early childhood obesity.

The findings of the Growing Right Onto Wellness (GROW) trial, released Aug. 7 in JAMA, showed a short-term reduction in obesity that diminished over the three-year study period even in the face of improved, sustained nutrition and use of neighborhood recreation centers.

Principal investigator Shari Barkin, MD, director of Pediatric Obesity Research at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, said the amount of behavioral change likely needs to increase to be successful, but it remains unclear what would be enough to prevent childhood obesity in underserved, low-income populations — those most at-risk for obesity and its long-term health consequences.