Low-Income, Overweight and Obese Mothers as Agents of Change to Improve Food Choices, Fat Habits, and Physical Activity in their 1-to-3-Year-Old Children

Division of Nutritional Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition (Impact Factor: 1.45). 06/2007; 26(3):196-208. DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2007.10719602
Source: PubMed


To examine the effects of a weight loss program for mothers on the diet and activity of mothers and their 1-3 year old children.
Overweight and obese mothers participated in an 8-week weight loss intervention encompassing diet, physical activity, and behavioral modification. Anthropometrics, demographic, dietary, and physical activity questionnaires were administered at weeks 0 and 8; anthropometrics were re-evaluated at week 24.
Mothers (N=91) of a 1-3 year old child; body mass index (BMI) >or= 25 kg/m2; non-breastfeeding; age 18-45 years; income < 200% of federal poverty index; Hispanic, African American, or white; and English-speaking were recruited from Special Supplemental Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) and public health clinics. INTERVENTION MEASURES OF OUTCOME: Weight loss in mothers and improvements in diet (reduction in calories, fat, snacks/desserts, sweetened beverages, and increases in fruit, vegetables) and activity in mothers and children.
Weight loss in mothers was modest (-2.7 kg, p < 0.001) and sustained at week 24 (-2.8 kg, p < 0.001), and children gained in height and weight as expected for normal growth (p < 0.001). Initial energy intakes of children exceeded Estimated Energy Requirements (123%) and were reduced to acceptable levels post-intervention (102%, p < 0.001); additional beneficial changes in children's diets were decreased total (47.7 to 39.9 g/day) and saturated fat (19.2 to 16.6 g/day), high-fat snacks/desserts (1.6 to 0.9 servings/day), added fats (81.8 to 40.9% using), sweetened beverages (0.8 to 0.4 servings/day), and fast food consumption (11.6 to 6.6% of meals), and increased home-prepared meals (63.2 to 71.6% of meals) (p < 0.01 for all). Physical activity scores improved by 7% in children (p < 0.05). Comparable changes in food choices and activity also were seen in mothers.
Offering weight loss classes was a successful method of enticing low-income women to participate in an educational intervention that benefited their children. Overweight and obese mothers who modified their food choices and fat habits made comparable changes for their child.

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Available from: Kristine Jordan, Sep 23, 2015
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    • "Only one WIC study specifically targeted mothers as agents of change [57]. Klohe-Lehman and colleagues found that a weight loss program for overweight and obese mothers of one to three year olds was not only effective in promoting maternal weight loss and improving maternal diet and physical activity, but also had an effect in reducing the energy intake of their children and improving child diet quality and physical activity levels. "
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    • "Design An 8-week weight loss intervention study was conducted with 90 overweight or obese, (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 kg/m 2 ) lowincome mothers. All participants were administered a 33-item demographic questionnaire at week 0. Details of the intervention have been given in Klohe-Lehman et al. [29]. In short, anthropometric variables (body weight, waist circumference, percent body fat, BMI, blood pressure) were obtained at weeks 0 and 8. Blood was collected after a 12-h fasting period; plasma was extracted and stored at −80 • C until further analysis. "
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    • "Assisting parents to create supportive home environments can be an effective strategy to increase the fruit and vegetable consumption of their children [15]. However, studies involving traditional means of delivering interventions to parents, such as education sessions, often report high drop-out rates [16] and low attendance due to barriers associated with transport, work schedules and lack of interest [17]. Parent participation in healthy eating interventions is also reportedly constrained by specific barriers associated with preschool-aged children, including unpredictable sleep times and frequent sickness [18]. "
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