Peer Reviewed: Reaching Staff, Parents, and Community Partners to Prevent Childhood Obesity in Head Start, 2008

Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Preventing chronic disease (Impact Factor: 2.12). 05/2010; 7(3):A54.
Source: PubMed


Lowering the prevalence of childhood obesity requires a multilevel approach that targets the home, school, and community. Head Start, the largest federally funded early childhood education program in the United States, reaches nearly 1 million low-income children, and it provides an ideal opportunity for implementing such an approach. Our objective was to describe obesity prevention activities in Head Start that are directed at staff, parents, and community partners.
We mailed a survey in 2008 to all 1,810 Head Start programs in the United States.
Among the 1,583 (87%) responding programs, 60% held workshops to train new staff about children's feeding and 63% held workshops to train new staff about children's gross motor activity. Parent workshops on preparing or shopping for healthy foods were offered by 84% of programs and on encouraging children's gross motor activity by 43% of programs. Ninety-seven percent of programs reported having at least 1 community partnership to encourage children's healthy eating, and 75% reported at least 1 to encourage children's gross motor activity.
Head Start programs reported using a multilevel approach to childhood obesity prevention that included staff, parents, and community partners. More information is needed about the content and effectiveness of these efforts.

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    • "Despite existing regulations regarding health and nutrition, there are no specific requirements in 3 domains: 1) measuring or reporting children’s body mass index (BMI), 2) assessing and responding to household food insecurity, or 3) determining children’s maximum portion sizes by staff during meals. Using national data from the Study of Healthy Activity and Eating Practices and Environments in Head Start (SHAPES) (9-11), we describe program practices in these 3 related domains. "
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    ABSTRACT: Head Start is a federally funded early childhood education program that serves just over 900,000 US children, many of whom are at risk for obesity, are living in food insecure households, or both. The objective of this study was to describe Head Start practices related to assessing body mass index (BMI), addressing food insecurity, and determining portion sizes at meals. A survey was mailed in 2008 to all eligible Head Start programs (N = 1,810) as part of the Study of Healthy Activity and Eating Practices and Environments in Head Start. We describe program directors' responses to questions about BMI, food insecurity, and portion sizes. The response rate was 87% (N = 1,583). Nearly all programs (99.5%) reported obtaining height and weight data, 78% of programs calculated BMI for all children, and 50% of programs discussed height and weight measurements with all families. In 14% of programs, directors reported that staff often or very often saw children who did not seem to be getting enough to eat at home; 55% saw this sometimes, 26% rarely, and 5% never. Fifty-four percent of programs addressed perceived food insecurity by giving extra food to children and families. In 39% of programs, staff primarily decided what portion sizes children received at meals, and in 55% the children primarily decided on their own portions. Head Start programs should consider moving resources from assessing BMI to assessing household food security and providing training and technical assistance to help staff manage children's portion sizes.
    Preventing chronic disease 07/2012; 9(7):E132. DOI:10.5888/pcd9.110240 · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Given the widespread use of out-of-home child care and an all-time high prevalence of obesity among US preschool-aged children, it is imperative to consider the opportunities that child-care facilities may provide to reduce childhood obesity. This review examines the scientific literature on state regulations, practices and policies, and interventions for promoting healthy eating and physical activity, and for preventing obesity in preschool-aged children attending child care. Research published between January 2000 and July 2010 was identified by searching PubMed and MEDLINE databases, and by examining the bibliographies of relevant studies. Although the review focused on US child-care settings, interventions implemented in international settings were also included. In total, 42 studies were identified for inclusion in this review: four reviews of state regulations, 18 studies of child-care practices and policies that may influence eating or physical activity behaviors, two studies of parental perceptions and practices relevant to obesity prevention, and 18 evaluated interventions. Findings from this review reveal that most states lack strong regulations for child-care settings related to healthy eating and physical activity. Recent assessments of child-care settings suggest opportunities for improving the nutritional quality of food provided to children, the time children are engaged in physical activity, and caregivers' promotion of children's health behaviors and use of health education resources. A limited number of interventions have been designed to address these concerns, and only two interventions have successfully demonstrated an effect on child weight status. Recommendations are provided for future research addressing opportunities to prevent obesity in child-care settings.
    Journal of the American Dietetic Association 09/2011; 111(9):1343-62. DOI:10.1016/j.jada.2011.06.007 · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Considering rapid global increase in children obesity and high prevalence of dyslipidemia in obese and overweight children, this study aimed to evaluate the effect of an educational course on changes of lipid profile in children. This non-pharmacological clinical trial study was performed on 4-18 year-old children attending outpatient clinics of Isfahan Endocrine and Metabolism Research Center (Iran). Anthropometric measurements were conducted for all children. Fasting blood samples were taken from right hand of the participants at the first laboratory visit. Biochemical tests including measurement of total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were also carried out. Children took part in one educational session in which they were taught about ways and benefits of having regular physical activity once a day and having healthy foods. All children were followed up for about four months and anthropometrics and biochemical tests were repeated. Data was analyzed using SPSS16. A total number of 412 children (245 girls and 167 boys) were divided into four age groups of under 6, 6-9, 10-13, and 14-18 years old. Baseline anthropometric measures were significantly higher in boys. However, there was no difference between boys and girls in baseline lipid profile. Children's body mass index (BMI) z-score increased in all age groups except for 14-18 year-old boys. In boys older than 10 years, there were significant reductions in LDL-C and TC. In girls over 10 years of age, there was a significant increase in HDL-C. Although anthropometric measurements did not change in children (except for 14-18 year-old-boys), there was a significant reduction in children's lipid profile after the study. Our study showed that although one session of interventional education had no significant effects on children's anthropometric measurements, it could change their lipid profile. Moreover, the intervention was more effective on improving lipid profile in children over 10 years of age. Therefore, effective interventional strategies must be invented and implemented on children based on their age group.
    ARYA Atherosclerosis 03/2012; 8(3):143-8.
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