Improving self-regulation for obesity prevention in Head Start: A randomized controlled trial

Lumeng, J.C., Miller, A.L., Horodynski, M.A., Brophy-Herb, H.E., Contreras, D., Lee, H., Sturza, J., Kaciroti, N., & Peterson, K.E. (2017). Improving self-regulation for obesity prevention in Head Start: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics, 139(5), 1-10.
DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-2047


An estimated 23% of US preschool-aged children are overweight or obese, with higher rates among lower socioeconomic groups. Interventions that could be widely disseminated are needed, yet few obesity-prevention programs for preschoolers have been tested in randomized trials, and just 1 such program designed for delivery to US low-income preschoolers in the classroom setting has been described in the literature. This intervention, which focused on promoting healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors, had effects in some, but not all, racial/ethnic groups. Furthermore, very few of these interventions have included a substantial component for parents and their results have been mixed. New approaches that could generate stronger and more consistent effects are needed.

The primary aim of this study was to test the following hypotheses: (1) that an education program targeting evidence-based obesity-prevention behaviors embedded in Head Start (HS), a federally funded preschool program for low-income children (the Preschool Obesity Prevention Series [POPS]; HS+POPS), would be effective in reducing the prevalence of obesity, overweight/obesity, and BMI z score compared with HS alone and that (2) adding an intervention to improve self-regulation (the Incredible Years Series [IYS]; HS+POPS+IYS) would be more effective than HS+POPS or HS.

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