To assess the evidence for interventions designed to prevent or reduce overweight and obesity in children younger than 2 years.
MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, Web of Science, and references from relevant articles.
Included were published studies that evaluated an intervention designed to prevent or reduce overweight or obesity in children younger than 2 years.
Extracted from eligible studies were measured outcomes, including changes in child weight status, dietary intake, and physical activity and parental attitudes and knowledge about nutrition. Studies were assessed for scientific quality using standard criteria, with an assigned quality score ranging from 0.00 to 2.00 (0.00-0.99 is poor, 1.00-1.49 is fair, and 1.50-2.00 is good).
We retrieved 1557 citations; 38 articles were reviewed, and 12 articles representing 10 studies met study inclusion criteria. Eight studies used educational interventions to promote dietary behaviors, and 2 studies used a combination of nutrition education and physical activity. Study settings included home (n = 2), clinic (n = 3), classroom (n = 4), or a combination (n = 1). Intervention durations were generally less than 6 months and had modest success in affecting measures, such as dietary intake and parental attitudes and knowledge about nutrition. No intervention improved child weight status. Studies were of poor or fair quality (median quality score, 0.86; range, 0.28-1.43).
Few published studies attempted to intervene among children younger than 2 years to prevent or reduce obesity. Limited evidence suggests that interventions may improve dietary intake and parental attitudes and knowledge about nutrition for children in this age group. For clinically important and sustainable effect, future research should focus on designing rigorous interventions that target young children and their families.