PREVENTING THE ONSET of overweight and obesity in children is an important public health priority. Rates of childhood obesity in Australia are one of the highest in developed nations. The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity in Australian children doubled between 1985 and 1995 and the epidemic is evident in children as young as two years.
THE HEALTHY BEGINNINGS trial is a randomised controlled trial to test effectiveness of a home-based early intervention program designed to reduce family and behavioural risk factors for childhood obesity.
The intervention consisted of eight home visits from specially trained community nurses delivering a staged home-based intervention, one in the antenatal period, and seven at 1, 3, 5, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months after birth. Timing of the visits was designed to coincide with early childhood developmental milestones.
During the trial trained community nurses visited first-time mothers from disadvantaged areas of South Western Sydney. At these set-intervals visits nurses provided advice on infant feeding, nutrition and physical activity, as well as discussing parent-child interaction, parenting style and family support.
The Healthy Beginnings trial was developed in 2007 by Dr Li Ming Wen and Dr Chris Rissel (South Western Sydney and Sydney Local Health District Health Promotion Service), together with Prof Louise Baur (University of Sydney) and was funded by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC #393112; 2007-2010).For more information contact Dr Li Ming Wen