Teaching new mums about healthy eating and active play can help cut the risk of their child being overweight or obese, according to new research.
The study – published in the BMJ – shows that the early onset of childhood overweight and obesity requires "health promotion programmes to start as early as possible.”
Childhood obesity is a serious and growing problem globally – affecting more than 43 million (6.7%) preschool children worldwide. However, new research suggests that home-based advice for new and expectant mothers could significantly reduce the risk of childhood fatness – and any subsequent increase in disease risk from the obesity related generation game.
In the study mothers were taught eating and exercise habits for their children, in addition to reiterating key messages for healthy childhood development.
The study found that 11.2% of the intervention group were overweight or obese after 24 months compared with 14.1% of a control group. The researchers added that mean BMI (at 24 months) for children in the intervention group was 16.49 compared with 16.87 in the control group.
According to the study, 89% of children in the intervention group were also significantly more likely to eat one or more servings of vegetables per day compared with 83%, and 62% of children in the intervention group were likely to be given food as a reward compared with 72% in the control group.
The authors conclude that the results are ‘very encouraging’ but noted the cost-effectiveness does require further investigation.
The fully study can be found here.