Effect of a lifestyle intervention on adiposity and fitness in socially disadvantaged subgroups of preschoolers: A cluster-randomized trial (Ballabeina)

Institute of Exercise and Health Science, University of Basel, Birsstrasse 320B, CH-4052 Basel, Switzerland.
Preventive Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.09). 02/2012; 54(5):335-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.02.007
Source: PubMed


A multidimensional lifestyle intervention performed in 652 preschoolers (72% of migrant, 38% of low educational level (EL) parents) reduced body fat, but not BMI and improved fitness. The objective of this study is to examine whether the intervention was equally effective in children of migrant and/or low EL parents.
Cluster-randomized controlled single blinded trial, conducted in 2008/09 in 40 randomly selected preschools in Switzerland. The culturally tailored intervention consisted of a physical activity program and lessons on nutrition, media use and sleep. Primary outcomes included BMI and aerobic fitness. Secondary outcomes included %body fat, waist circumference and motor agility.
Children of migrant parents benefitted similarly from the intervention compared to their counterparts (p for interaction≥ 0.09). However, children of low EL parents benefitted less, although these differences did not reach statistical significance (p for interaction≥ 0.06). Average intervention effect sizes for BMI were -0.10, -0.05, -0.11 and 0.04 kg/m(2) and for aerobic fitness were 0.55, 0.20, 0.37 and -0.05 stages for children of non-migrant, migrant, middle/high EL and low EL parents, respectively.
This intervention was similarly effective among preschoolers of migrant parents compared to their counterparts, while children of low EL parents benefitted less.

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    • "This reasonably sized study (n = 625) found some beneficial intervention effects overall after 9½ months in terms of body fat and waist circumference, but not BMI or prevalence of overweight [54]. Sub-group analysis revealed no significant differences in intervention effects between children with low education parents and those with parents of medium/high education; however, there was a trend towards more beneficial effects in the higher SES children [53]. "
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