Interventions Aimed at Decreasing Obesity in Children Younger Than 2 Years

A Systematic Review

An intervention provided nutritional education to the parents of young children; 10 years later, the children demonstrated less fattening diets.

There is growing evidence that adult obesity begins in infancy. By their second birthdays many children have been exposed to high-calorie, low-nutrition foods and beverages. Therefore, creating healthy eating habits during the first two years is imperative.

This article is a systematic literature review; it provides a detailed account of already published articles that describe interventions to deter weight gain among children under age 2. The authors compiled this review by searching MEDLINE from 1996 to 2009 using keywords such as obesity prevention, infant and nutrition assessment. Out of more than 1,500 initial citations, 12 articles met the criteria for review.

Key Findings:

  • Eight interventions used educational platforms; two combined education and physical education.
  • Six studies led to modest improvements in children’s dietary intake and nutritional behavior (parent reported).

Today, roughly 25 percent of preschool children are overweight or obese; infant weight status likely persists into adulthood. This study found evidence that weight gain during infancy is preventable.