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Prevention of overweight and obesity in early life

Lanigan, J; (2018) Prevention of overweight and obesity in early life. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society , 77 (3) pp. 247-256. 10.1017/S0029665118000411. Green open access

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Abstract

Childhood obesity is a serious challenge for public health. The problem begins early with most excess childhood weight gained before starting school. In 2016, the WHO estimated that 41 million children under 5 were overweight or obese. Once established, obesity is difficult to reverse, likely to persist into adult life and is associated with increased risk of CVD, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Preventing obesity is therefore of high importance. However, its development is multi-factorial and prevention is a complex challenge. Modifiable lifestyle behaviours such as diet and physical activity are the most well-known determinants of obesity. More recently, early-life factors have emerged as key influencers of obesity in childhood. Understanding risk factors and how they interact is important to inform interventions that aim to prevent obesity in early childhood. Available evidence supports multi-component interventions as effective in obesity prevention. However, relatively few interventions are available in the UK and only one, TrimTots, has been evaluated in randomised controlled trials and shown to be effective at reducing obesity risk in preschool children (age 1-5 years). BMI was lower in children immediately after completing TrimTots compared with waiting list controls and this effect was sustained at long-term follow-up, 2 years after completion. Developing and evaluating complex interventions for obesity prevention is a challenge for clinicians and researchers. In addition, parents encounter barriers engaging with interventions. This review considers early-life risk factors for obesity, highlights evidence for preventative interventions and discusses barriers and facilitators to their success.

Type: Article
Title: Prevention of overweight and obesity in early life
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0029665118000411
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665118000411
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: RCT randomised controlled trial, Infants, Nutrition, Obesity prevention, Preschool children
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10050479
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