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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

, : 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. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 26(3): 196-208

OBJECTIVE: 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. DESIGN: 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. SUBJECTS: Mothers (N=91) of a 1-3 year old child; body mass index (BMI) >= 25 kg/mpo; 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. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSION: 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.


PMID: 17634164

DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2007.10719602

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